Dr. John Sanford Lectures on Inevitable Genomic Deterioration

Dr. John C. Sanford, well-known scientist, Associate Professor of at Cornell University, plant geneticist, and inventor of the “gene gun”, recently gave a talk at Loma Linda University (as part of Dr. Paul Giem’s Creation lecture series) on “Genomic Entropy” or the inevitable genetic deterioration and eventual extinction of humans within a relatively short period of time (hence the title of his talk “Down, Not Up”).  In other words, random detrimental mutations build up in the gene pools of living things with a low reproductive rate far far faster than natural selection can get rid of them.  This generally accepted fact of modern science strongly implies, therefore, that we have devolved, not evolved, from an originally superior state, as a species or collective gene pool, compared to our current rapidly degenerating condition.  We are all heading downhill, genetically, very rapidly in fact, toward complete genetic meltdown – toward the extinction of life on this planet from the build-up of deleterious mutations alone.  The only solution to this problem is the direct intervention of the Creator of life. It is for this reason that Dr. Sanford likes to call himself a “Supernaturalist”.

Dr. Sandford’s current position as a believer in God as the original Creator of life was not always his position.  He was once an atheist.  He then evolved, if you will, into a theistic position, and then, finally, was convinced of the superior explanatory value of the creationist position – of a belief in the scientific credibility of the Biblical account of origins and the current degenerated and degenerating condition of mankind.

 

 

For those interested, here is my own presentation on the differences between genetic and thermodynamic entropy (often confused by both creationists and mainstream scientists) and the inevitable steady genetic decline in quality described by Dr. Sanford… a concept I like to call, “Turtles All the Way Down”:

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The following is a summary of the facts involved with Dr. Sanford’s conclusions.  For instance, what is  the evidence for the notion that the rate of accumulation of the detriment mutations outstrips any mechanisms for their removal from a given gene pool?

Well, the answer to this question is based on known overall mutation rates, the amount of functional DNA in the genome, the ratio of beneficial vs. detrimental mutations, and the known reproductive/death rate that would be required to compensate for the detrimental mutation rate.

 

Summary 

Overall mutation rate:
A fairly recent paper in a 2010 issue of Science attempted a direct measurement of the mutation rate by comparing the complete genome sequences of two offspring and their parents. They estimate that each offspring had only 70 new mutations (instead of previously predicted rates of around 170) for an overall mutation rate of around 1.1 * 10-8 per site per generation (Roach et al. 2010: Link). Another paper published in a 2010 issue of PNAS suggested an overall autosomal mutation rate of 1.481 * 10−8 base substitutions per site per generation – or approximately 89 new mutations per person per generation (Lynch, 2009: Link). Unfortunately for men, a 2009 pedigree-based estimate derived from high-throughput sequencing of Y chromosomes (~58 million bp) separated by 13 generations (Xue et al. 2009: Link) yielded a much higher base-substitutional mutation rate estimate of 3.0 * 10−8 for the Y-chromosome (~ 1.74 mutations per person, per Y-chromosome alone, per generation – – comparable to a rate of ~180 autosomal mutations per person per generation).

For purposes of discussion, let’s assume an average SNP mutation rate of 70 per person, per generation.

Comment:

Note, however, that this mutation rate only represents point mutations.  A mutation rate of 70 isn’t truly representative of all types of mutations – such as deletions, insertions, duplications, translocations, inversions, micro-satellite mutations, various forms of indel mutations, etc.  So, the actual mutation rate with regard to the absolute number of nucleotide changes over time would be higher than this.  Consider, for example, that although “macro-mutations” (like larger insertions or deletions) occur at a rate of an additional 4-12 per person per generation, they actually change 100-500 times the number of nucleotides that are changed by all point mutations combined.  So,  the additional effective nucleotide mutation rate could be up to  30,000 nucleotide changes per person per generation.  (Link).

 

Functional DNA in the Genome:
In the past five years or so, the discovery that a significant amount of “non-coding DNA” is functional to one degree or another. Early on, it was thought that no more than 1.5% of the human genome was functional. Although there are about 23,000 protein-coding genes, these comprise a mere 1.5% of the human genome.  The rest of the genome is comprised of DNA sequences that do not code for proteins. It is interesting to note that about 80% of the non-coding DNA in the human genome is actually transcribed (Link), mainly into non-protein-coding RNAs (Link). Many of the observed non-coding transcripts are differentially expressed, and, while most have not yet been studied, increasing numbers are being shown to be functional and/or trafficked to specific subcellular locations, as well as exhibit subtle evidence of selection. Even some of the 20% or so of the genome that is not transcribed at all into any form of RNA, such as repetitive sequences, is being shown to have functionality (in regulation of gene expression, overall chromosome structure and pairing, etc).  For example, the non-transcribed spacer (NTS) region of rRNA genes is the “most important region of the rDNA” because this is the region that contains the nucleotide sequences that trigger and/or terminate transcription (Link).

Of course, analyses of conservation patterns indicate that only 5% (3% – 8%) of the human genome is under purifying selection for functions common to mammals. However, these estimates rely on the assumption that reference sequences (usually sequences thought to be ancient transposon-derived sequences) have evolved neutrally, which may not be the case (especially if common descent theories are wrong), and if so would lead to an underestimate of the fraction of the genome under selective  constraint. These analyses also do not detect functional sequences that are evolving rapidly and/or have acquired lineage-specific functions. Indeed, many regulatory sequences and known functional noncoding RNAs, including many microRNAs, are not conserved over significant evolutionary distances, and recent evidence from the ENCODE project suggests that many functional elements show no detectable level of sequence constraint. Also, a 2010 report on research by Kunarso et al. in Nature suggests:

“Although sequence conservation has proven useful as a predictor of functional regulatory elements in the genome the observations by Kunarso et. al. are a reminder that it is not justified to assume in turn that all functional regulatory elements show evidence of sequence constraint.” (Link)

Some even go on to argue that, “It is possible that much if not most of the human genome may be functional.” (Pheasant and attick, 2007: Link)  From the conclusion of their paper, Pheasant and Mattick write:

“It seems clear that 5% is a minimum estimate of the fraction of the human genome that is functional, and that the true extent is likely to be significantly greater. If the upper figure of 11.8% under common purifying selection in mammals from ENCODE (Margulies et al. 2007) is realistic across the genome as a whole, and if turnover and positive selection approximately doubles this figure (Smith et al. 2004), then the functional portion of the genome may exceed 20%. It is also now clear that the majority of the mammalian genome is expressed and that many mammalian genes are accompanied by extensive regulatory regions. Thus, although admittedly on the basis of as yet limited evidence, it is quite plausible that many, if not the majority, of the expressed transcripts are functional and that a major component of genomic information is rapidly evolving regulatory DNA and RNA. Consequently, it is possible that much if not most of the human genome may be functional. This possibility cannot be ruled out on the available evidence, either from conservation analysis or from genetic studies (Mattick and Makunin 2006), but does challenge current conceptions of the extent of functionality of the human genome and the nature of the genetic programming of humans and other complex organisms.”

The science journal Nature also published a very interesting news feature along these lines (ENCODE: The human encyclopaedia, Sept 5, 2012).  This article reports on the ongoing human genome project called the “Encyclopedia of DNA Elements” or ENCODE project where the researchers assigned function to much of what was previously described as “junk DNA” – going so far as to suggest functionality of at least 80% of the human genome.  While this suggestion is likely a bit extreme, an estimate of at least 20% functionality does seem fairly conservative at the present time (Kellis, 2014).

 

Implied functional mutation rate::
Given that 20% of the genome is functional to one degree or another, this would imply a functional (non-neutral) mutation rate of 11 per person per generation (70 total mutations times 20% times the number of non-redundant or non-synonymous mutations at about 80%).  This is in line with the most conservative estimates recently published in literature. For example,  Kellis (2014) argues that:

    “The lower bound estimate that 5% of the human genome has been under evolutionary constraint was based on the excess conservation observed in mammalian alignments relative to a neutral reference (typically ancestral repeats, small introns, or fourfold degenerate codon positions). However, estimates that incorporate alternate references, shape-based constraint, evolutionary turnover, or lineage-specific constraint each suggests roughly two to three times more constraint than previously (12-15%), and their union might be even larger as they each correct different aspects of alignment-based excess constraint…. Although still weakly powered, human population studies suggest that an additional 4-11% of the genome may be under lineage-specific constraint after specifically excluding protein-coding regions.”

This means that, at minimum, between 16% to 26% of the genome is likely to be functionally constrained to one degree or another.  And, of course, this means that the likely detrimental mutation rate is at least four times as high as Keightley suggested in 2012 (and some would argue even higher) – i.e., about 8.8 detrimental mutations per offspring per generation.  This would, of course, imply a necessary reproductive rate of over 13,200 offspring per woman per generation (and a death rate of over 99.99% per generation).

 

Ratio of beneficial vs. detrimental mutations:
There are numerous published estimates ranging from 1/1000 to 1/1,000,000. A 1998 paper published in Genetica suggests a beneficial mutation rate (vs. the total mutation rate) of approximately 1 in 1,000,000 (Gerrish and Lenski, 1998: Link). Given that a significant portion if not most of the human genome is functional to one degree or another, to a similar degree those mutations that are not beneficial would be functionally detrimental to one degree or another. In short, the ratio of beneficial vs. detrimental is very small – most likely well below the ratio of 1/1000.

 

Detrimental mutation rate:
Given that the ratio of beneficial vs. detrimental mutations is so low (less than 1/1000), the detrimental mutation rate would be very similar to the overall functional mutation rate. In other words there would be between around 11 detrimental mutations (to include mostly near-neutral detrimental mutations) per person per generation (with a more conservative estimate of at least 8 detrimental mutations; see discussion above).

 

Required reproductive/death rate to compensate for detrimental mutation rate:
The reduction in fitness (i.e., the genetic load) due to deleterious mutations with multiplicative effects is given by the formula of 1 – e-U (Kimura and Moruyama, 1966). For a detrimental mutation rate (Ud) of just 3 mutations per person per generation, the average fitness is reduced to 1 –  2.71828183 -3 = 0.95 of the original parental fitness level. The number of offspring, in a sexually reproducing species, needed to maintain the population at the parental level of fitness would therefore be: 1 / e-3 = 20 offspring per woman per generation for just one to survive without any detrimental mutations.  Therefore, each woman would need to produce 40 offspring for 2 to survive without any detrimental mutations to maintain the population at functional genetic neutrality (at least a 90% death rate without considering genetically non-related accidents). Of course, if the detrimental mutation rate were really more like 11 per person per generation, the number of offspring needed, per woman, to allow natural selection to deal with this degree of bad karma would be around 2 * 1/e-11 =  ~120,000 offspring per woman per generation.  Even with a much more conservative estimate of U = 8, the required reproductive rate would be about 6,000 per woman per generation (quite clearly an impossibility either way).

Now, one might argue that the actual detrimental mutation rate is much lower than this, but it is rather hard to believe that the minimum number of offspring required per woman would be remotely within the realm of feasibility, given what we’ve learned about the functionality of the non-coding elements of the genome in recent years.  Humans simply do not reproduce remotely fast enough to keep up with the most conservative understanding of the minimum rate of detrimental mutations that hits every single member of the human gene pool in every generation.

Consider also that Hermann Joseph Muller, a famous pioneer in the field of genetics, argued that a detrimental mutation rate of just 0.5/person/generation (an average reproductive rate of 3 children per woman) would doom the human population to eventual extinction (H. J. Muller, 1950).  After all, it was Muller who realized that, in effect, each detrimental mutation leads, ultimately, to one “genetic death,” since each mutation can be eliminated only by death or failure to reproduce.  Sexual recombination softens this conclusion somewhat (by about half), but does not really solve the problem – as discussed above.  Also, various forms of truncation selection and quasi-truncation selection (Link) and positive epistasis (discussed above) really don’t solve a problem of this magnitude either.

Within mainstream literature clear limitations to mutation rates are known because of this particular problem. Even rapidly reproducing bacteria and viruses have a fairly small limit to the number of mutations that can be sustained per generation. Based on research coming out of Harvard University, that number is less than 6 mutations per individual per generation – for bacteria and viruses as well as most other living things! This is a total number of mutations affecting functional regions of DNA – counting detrimental, beneficial, and neutral varieties.

“If enough mutations push an essential protein towards an unstable, non-functional structure, the organism will die. Shakhnovich’s group found that for most organisms, including viruses and bacteria, an organism’s rate of genome mutation must stay below 6 mutations per genome per generation to prevent the accumulation of too many potentially lethal changes in genetic material.” (Link, Link-2, Link-3)

For viruses in particular, the limiting mutation rate was found to be just 2.5 mutations per genome per generation (Link). This is the total mutation rate, not just the detrimental mutation rate. Also, the population here is assumed to be infinite in size. For finite populations the maximum tolerable mutation rate would obviously be smaller. The smaller the population, the lower the mutation rate that can be tolerated without an eventual genetic meltdown.

But what about the effect of beneficial mutations?

“Whitlock included beneficial mutations and calculated that Ncrit ~(Udeleterious/Ubeneficial)1/3, which depends only on the balance of beneficial to deleterious mutations and not on the mutation rate itself. Both of those examples contradict our results, which show that Ncrit and τ depend dramatically on |U|. The dominant reason for the discrepancy is that those authors assumed that deleterious mutations occur ‘one at a time,’ which is not true when the rate that mutations are introduced (U) exceeds the rate at which selection removes them (~1/s). When U/s>>1, the population experiences ‘Hill-Robertson interference’, which both accelerates extinction and also makes analytic solutions intractable.” (Link)

 

The Y-Chromosome Rapidly Headed for Extinction?

Also, what about the Y-chromosome in males?  The Y-chromosome does not undergo significant sexual recombination. Are the males of slowly reproducing species, like humans, therefore headed for extinction at an even faster rate than females?

“The absence of recombination with a homologous partner means that it [The Y-chromosome] can never be repaired by recombination. This has led to suggestions that the Y is destined for extinction it will eventually dwindle to nothing. According to this model, its role in sex determination will eventually be taken on by genes elsewhere in the genome.”  50

The author of the above quoted article goes onto point out that several species, like the Armenian mole vole, are able to reproduce without the Y chromosome.  While this might explain where humans are headed, it doesn’t seem quite clear as to just how the Y-chromosome could have evolved over millions of years of time given its relative inability to combat high detrimental mutation rates in humans.  Of course, research (Jennifer Hughes, 2012) has shown that the human Y-chromosome is “remarkably similar” to that of the rhesus monkey.  In an interview Hughes noted that, “For the most part, the gene content [for human vs. rhesus Y-chromosomes] has not changed for 25 million years.” (Link).  Based on the assumed evolutionary relationship between humans and monkeys, it seems then like men are not going extinct after all! – Phew!   However, when one considers how high the actual detrimental mutation rate of the Y-chromosome really is (Link), it not only calls into serious question the survival of the Y-chromosome, but the entire notion of human-ape common descent from a shared common ancestor. In fact, this conclusion seems much more consistent with a study published a bit earlier in Nature (Hughes, 2010) that showed many striking differences between human and chimp chromosome structure, gene content, and even qualitatively unique genes between the two species.  As far as looking at specific genes, the chimp and human Y-chromosomes seem to have a dramatic difference in gene content of up to 53%. In other words, the chimp is lacking approximately half of the genes found on a human Y-chromosome. Because genes occur in families or similarity categories, the researchers also sought to determine if there was any difference in actual gene categories. They found a shocking 33 percent difference. The human Y-chromosome contains a third more gene categories, entirely different classes of genes, compared to chimps.

Under evolutionary assumptions of long and gradual genetic changes, the Y-chromosome structures, layouts, genes, and other sequences should be much the same in both species, given only six million years or so since chimpanzees and humans supposedly diverged from a common ancestor. Instead, the differences between the Y-chromosomes are marked. R. Scott Hawley, a genetics researcher at the Stowers Institute in Kansas City, though not involved in the research, told the Associated Press, “That result is astounding.” (Link)

Because virtually every structural aspect of the human and chimp Y-chromosomes is different, it is hard to arrive at an overall similarity estimate between the two. The researchers did postulate an overall 70 percent similarity, which did not take into account size differences or structural arrangement differences. This was done by concluding that only 70 percent of the chimp sequence could be aligned with the human sequence – not taking into account differences within the alignments.

In other words, 70 percent was a conservative estimate, especially when considering that 50 percent of the human genes were missing from the chimp, and that the regions that did have some similarity were located in completely different patterns. When all aspects of non-similarity (sequence categories, genes, gene families, and gene position) are taken into account, it is safe to say that the overall similarity is actually much lower than 70 percent. In fact, this difference is so striking that the authors of the Nature article described the discrepancy with the standard evolutionary model in a rather intriguing way:

“Indeed, at 6 million years of separation, the difference in MSY gene content in chimpanzee and human is more comparable to the difference in autosomal gene content in chicken and human, at 310 million years of separation.” (Link)

Given the standard evolutionary model of origins, it is indeed rather stunning to consider that the human Y-chromosome looks just as different from a chimp as the other human chromosomes do from a chicken. How is this explained within the evolutionary mindset?  Obviously, the believer in mainstream evolutionary models is now forced to invent more just-so stories of major chromosomal rearrangements and rapid generation of many new genes, along with vast amounts of regulatory DNA, within very short spans of evolutionary time. However, since each respective Y-chromosome appears fully integrated and interdependently stable with its host organism, the most logical inference from the Y-chromosome data, without any prior commitment to the evolutionary story of origins, is that humans and chimpanzees were each specially created as distinct creatures, or evolved over a far far greater period of time…

Additional research carried out in 2012 by scientists at the University of Oxford and the University of Chicago found that hotspot regions that determine the locations for genetic recombination during cellular meiosis in sexual reproduction showed “no overlap between humans and chimpanzees.” (Link)  This was an “extraordinarily unexpected finding” given the other similarities between humans and chimps.  Professor McVean explains:

“Genetic recombination has been likened to shuffling a deck of cards, which ensures that children are given a different genetic ‘hand’ than their parents. We know that in many cases recombination occurs where a particular thirteen letter sequence is present — this is like a run of hearts from ace to king determining where we cut the deck of cards. Because humans and chimpanzees are genetically very similar, we might explain that you can only ‘cut the cards’ at the same point — in fact, we find that this is not true.” (Link)

Additional research carried out in 2012 by scientists at the University of Oxford and the University of Chicago found that hotspot regions that determine the locations for genetic recombination during cellular meiosis in sexual reproduction showed “no overlap between humans and chimpanzees.” (Link)  This was an “extraordinarily unexpected finding” given the other similarities between humans and chimps.  Professor McVean explains:

“Genetic recombination has been likened to shuffling a deck of cards, which ensures that children are given a different genetic ‘hand’ than their parents. We know that in many cases recombination occurs where a particular thirteen letter sequence is present — this is like a run of hearts from ace to king determining where we cut the deck of cards. Because humans and chimpanzees are genetically very similar, we might explain that you can only ‘cut the cards’ at the same point — in fact, we find that this is not true.” (Link)

 

 

For additional information and references to relevant scientific papers on this topic see my website at:

http://www.detectingdesign.com/dnamutationrates.html#Detrimental

 

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190 thoughts on “Dr. John Sanford Lectures on Inevitable Genomic Deterioration

  1. It is a little ironic that his very first text, Heb. 1:10-12 talks about God is going to change things, i.e. theistic evolution

    This guy is out of touch with reality. Information degrades? That does not correspond to reality. Lets compare the navigational data available to Christopher Columbus, to the information available to me for example. My information is infinitely better, and I am not even in a disciple that uses navigation.

    Compare our understanding of physics now compared even to the time of Einstein. Even as a non-physicist, I know things about physics that were not knowable by Einstein.

    “Sometimes your house can get better?” Well, of course it can, that is called the principle of Emergence. Have you compared modern houses to houses 200 years ago? I would take a modern one any day.

    3 genetic “errors” or changes, per cell division. How is that not at least one of many sources for the “random variations” described by Darwin?

    Why do most young people leave the church because they have been convinced of evolution? Maybe, but I but what I see, is that the young people are driven out of the church by the intolerance of conservatives.

    One generalization they taught in Medical school genetics class is that the human population is so large now, that every non-lethal mutation possible is most likely represented by someone in the population. If that is true, then the maximum possible genetic “degeneration” possible has already occurred. How is further “degeneration” possible?

    That would also imply that our genetic diversity is optimal for the current environment.

    Perhaps if new environments were to open up, e.g. we move to space, then it is possible that the new environment will make possible genetic diversity that is not viable here on earth.

    Re: “Information degenerates”

    That isn’t even Biblical. The whole point of the Great Controversy is that, through the Fall, and our redemption, our information about God improves. Isn’t that why Christ came to this earth, to provide us with better information about the character of God? Isn’t that why He gave us the Holy Spirit? To teach us all things?




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    • @ron:

      Hebrews 1:10-12 is talking about everything getting old and wearing out except for God. This is the very same thing that Dr. Sanford is saying, “Without God to continually repair the damage that comes with age, everything eventually decays and falls apart.”

      It seems like you’re confusing learned human knowledge with genetic information. They aren’t the same thing. Genetic information steadily degrades over time. It is not preserved, much less improved, by random mutations and natural selection. The genome cannot “learn” or gain new and improved information without the assistance of an outside intelligent agent of some kind coming to the rescue. Unless some intelligent agent puts the information there into the gene pool, the gene pool will steadily degrade over time until is self-destructs.

      Also, while a loss of the quality of genetic information over time is a form of “change over time” and therefore “evolution”, it is really better described as devolution – a degenerating change over time that is headed for eventual genetic meltdown and extinction.

      One generalization they taught in Medical school genetics class is that the human population is so large now, that every non-lethal mutation possible is most likely represented by someone in the population. If that is true, then the maximum possible genetic “degeneration” possible has already occurred. How is further “degeneration” possible?

      You went to medical school and you don’t understand the detrimental nature of genetic mutations? Just because every possible mutation or combination thereof may exist in the gametes of some individual somewhere (which isn’t true by the way), this would not mean that further detrimental mutations aren’t possible. Obviously, within a given family line additional mutations occur and build up over time – always resulting in children who are genetically inferior relative to their parents. This happens in every family line. Every single time a child is born, that child has more detrimental mutations than his/her parents had – every time.

      Do you really not grasp the implications of this fact of science?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  2. ron,

    I am assuming that your comment is not parody, as it fits your previously expressed opinions and I have heard others give similar long-age arguments, but really!

    Accusing John Sanford of being out of touch with reality might possibly be projection. It would be less likely to be so if you could cite literature to refute his thesis, and show that your literature is more germane than his is. That would require the work of reading what he wrote and actually understanding it, as opposed to allowing an echo chamber to interpret the evidence for you. But we are called to be thinkers, and not mere reflectors of other men’s (and women’s) thoughts.

    Your examples of increasing information are all poor ones. Of course our knowledge base is better than it was centuries ago. But that is not because of natural selection; it is intelligent design. The confusion of those two indicates either a very poor grasp of the subject, or an argumentative stance divorced from reality, or an unwarranted trust in those whose thinking has one of the above defects.

    Think about it. Houses don’t get better because trees saw themselves into boards that fit better with time. Blueprints don’t get better with copying, even by copying machines. Someone draws up a new blueprint with an improved design, and then the house improves.

    We humans are constantly adding to our information, so our information improves. If we didn’t add, our information would also be degrading. The point of natural selection is that it is blind to future usefulness; it can only judge present utility.

    Since you apparently went to medical school, perhaps you can explain why they taught you avoid ionizing radiation such as X-rays, and they especially recommend this to pregnant women. After all, if mutations are the raw material of evolution, shouldn’t we want more of them? I don’t see people moving to Chernobyl just to genetically improve their offspring.

    John Sanford is pointing out that the emperor has no clothes. I expect the emperor’s acolytes to attack Dr. Sanford. But you don’t need to parrot their talking points, including the ones that are completely devoid of rationality. Think!




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  3. I have been following Dr. Sanford’s work for a while and was glad to see him cross paths with our people, for his sake and for ours. I am also glad that EducateTruth is now not only doing the necessary but depressing task of pointing out a problem area we need to work on but also adding to the knowledge base about Genesis 1-11 and about those scientists who are defending it. I noted yesterday that the UK SDAs have a nice spot on their website promoting a literal 6 day creation. http://www.adventistinfo.org.uk/creation/index.php

    -Shining




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  4. Sean Pitman: You’re confusing learned human knowledge with genetic information

    No, I am not confusing human knowledge with genetic information.
    1. It was Dr. Sanford who made that connection. He used it as metaphorical proof of his position. I am pointing out that
    a. His metaphor, and
    b. even the metaphor as he presented it is false.

    2. I maintain that random variation with natural selection is a fundamental law of the universe even outside of biology, and that it is a feature of Intelligent design specifically, and that if people weren’t so caught up in worrying about evolution, they would see that it is patently obvious.

    For example, I happen also to be an inventor/creator. If you think about my world from the perspective of an inventor, you will notice that I was, in fact born into a very complex social and object world that has been evolving through the process of intelligent design for a very long time.

    If you could examine my thought processes as I work in my shop, you would notice that I am constantly noticing features of objects in my environment that I can use in ways not previously intended to meet new needs and challenges. I then try to fit different parts together to make something new. (The principle of emergence). Sometimes the ideas work, (analogous to a beneficial gene being created in biology) in which case that idea eventually gets patented and propagated. (Survival of the best adapted). Sometimes the pieces don’t work together as expected in which case natural selection causes that idea to fail, and I have to either modify it further, or abandon it as non-viable.

    The intellectual process of creation/intelligent design is at it’s heart, an evolutionary process. That is why Darwin is such a great man. He was the first to identify and describe a fundamental, universal process. It is tragic that his idea has been mired down in the debate over God, because it is really bigger than biology and genetics, and it really is NOT incompatible with belief in God.

    I invite you to get out of the black and white thinking box. Put your prejudices away for just a little while, and take a look around you. If you don’t like what you see, you can always pick your prejudices up again, but I think that you will find it really is OK.

    2. I think it is you who don’t understand the genetic point. I am talking about genetic change at the base pair level. If you do studies of the genome there is tremendous diversity at the base pair level. I know, it would take more research than has yet been done to really prove this definitively. (I am getting some of my information from my son who has a degree in molecular biology) but it appears that pretty much, any possible base pair substitution that can be made in every and all genes without creating a non-viable fetus, has been attempted by nature already. This is a feature of random variation. The fact that not all base pair substitutions are represented in the population is a feature of natural selection. i.e. those that result in a non-viable organism are not propagated further.

    The other thing you don’t seem to understand is that while it is individuals who prosper or fail to prosper, evolution is really about populations of genes within populations of organisms, so while it is true that families may be accumulating genetic defects and be declining over time, it is not necessarily true that the genetic diversity as a whole is declining.

    If Sanford’s hypothesis were even remotely true, the world would long ago have died out because of failure of the bacterial population. In a resource rich environment, a bacterial generation is about 20 minutes. So, even for a short earth creation of about 6,000 years, bacteria have gone through the human equivalent of “bbiilliioonns” of years (to quote Bob) of development without collapse of their genome.

    Now, it is possible for the environment to change faster than organisms can adapt, so we do see organisms going extinct. That may be happening to humans. I guess time will tell, but if it does, I don’t think I will be here to worry about it.




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    • @Ron:

      You’re still doing it. You don’t seem to understand the difference between the mechanism used by human intelligence to produce novel information and the random mutations and natural selection that affect our DNA. They aren’t the same thing. The Darwinian mechanism of RM/NS is far more limited in that it cannot imagine the future nor can it strive for any particular goal. It can only deal with what works or doesn’t work right now. That’s it. Big difference.

      The other thing you don’t seem to understand is that while it is individuals who prosper or fail to prosper, evolution is really about populations of genes within populations of organisms, so while it is true that families may be accumulating genetic defects and be declining over time, it is not necessarily true that the genetic diversity as a whole is declining.

      What you don’t seem to realize is that if every child in every family always has more detrimental mutations than its parents had, the population as a whole, the entire gene pool, is degenerating in informational quality. That’s the problem here. It’s not about “diversity” as much as it is about overall genomic functional quality.

      It appears that pretty much, any possible base pair substitution that can be made in every and all genes without creating a non-viable fetus, has been attempted by nature already.

      That’s true when you’re talking about a very limited number of errors existing in any one fetus. However, when you start talking about adding more and more and more errors in every child in every generation, the genetic quality of every single baby born declines relative to the parents. That’s the issue in play. Even if every genetic foci could be mutated, in isolation, without resulting in the death of the fetus (there are numerous point mutations that will result in the death of the fetus by the way), that wouldn’t mean anything at all when it comes to solving the problem proposed by Sanford. The problem, yet again, is the continued build-up of detrimental mutations in each generation until the overall load results in genetic meltdown. We aren’t there yet, but it is quite clear that we, along other living things, are headed for eventual extinction at a rather rapid rate.

      If Sanford’s hypothesis were even remotely true, the world would long ago have died out because of failure of the bacterial population. In a resource rich environment, a bacterial generation is about 20 minutes. So, even for a short earth creation of about 6,000 years, bacteria have gone through the human equivalent of “bbiilliioonns” of years (to quote Bob) of development without collapse of their genome.

      Evidently you didn’t watch the entire lecture. Bacteria have a much lower per generation mutation rate compared to humans. The per-year mutation rate is similar, however. Also, bacteria have a far far greater reproductive rate compared to humans and other slowly reproducing creatures. These features mitigate the devolution of bacteria over a greater absolute number of generations.

      In short, nothing you’ve presented remotely addresses the very real problem presented by Sanford. You don’t seem to understand the very basis of the Darwinian mechanism of RM/NS. You actually think it is comparable to human-style creativity and intelligence?

      I’m sorry, but you simply don’t seem to understand the relevant concepts in play here.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  5. Paul Giem: Think about it. Houses don’t get better because trees saw themselves into boards that fit better with time. Blueprints don’t get better with copying, even by copying machines. Someone draws up a new blueprint with an improved design, and then the house improves.

    Yes, that is part of the point I am making. If you look at houses, you will see that they definitely evolve over time, and yet the process involves, intelligent design, as well as random variation, as well as natural selection.

    The evolution of houses is:
    a. not a biological process
    b. is the result of intelligent design
    c. is also the result of Darwinian evolution, i.e. the process exhibits the properties of random variation and natural selection.

    This is in fact a very good example of why intelligent design and evolution are not incompatible.




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    • @Ron:

      No one is arguing about the existence of natural selection as a real force of nature. It is a real force of nature as are random mutations. Also, no one is arguing about the creative potential of intelligent design. Obviously, intelligence can improve things over time in a stepwise manner.

      The disagreement with Neo-Darwinists here is over the concept that a mindless naturalistic mechanism, where no intelligence is detectably involved, can produce greater and greater levels of functional complexity within biosystems – or anything else for that matter.

      Also, the particular observation raised by Dr. Sanford, that living things are devolving toward eventual extinction, is a fact of science. This observation can be and has been directly measured in real time. We know which way “evolution” is going when it comes to slowly reproducing creatures with long generation times. As Dr. Sanford pointed out in his lecture, it is clearly going downhill, not uphill as you have often asserted. You’re simply mistaken on this particular point.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  6. Paul Giem: Since you apparently went to medical school, perhaps you can explain why they taught you avoid ionizing radiation such as X-rays, and they especially recommend this to pregnant women. After all, if mutations are the raw material of evolution, shouldn’t we want more of them? I don’t see people moving to Chernobyl just to genetically improve their offspring.

    There are in fact, bacteria that have evolved to live in nuclear reactor waste tanks. Some of them are even able to concentrate radioactive elements by isotope, and may become useful in cleanup efforts.

    Yes, ionizing radiation is extremely destructive to organisms that have not adapted to it, but even here, in the worst imaginable environment we see the tremendous tenacity of life, and we see, yes, the process of evolution. This is further proof that DNA based life is not fragile. It happens to be extremely resilient.




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    • @Ron:

      Again, you’re talking about bacteria – creatures that have the capacity for a very high rate of reproduction. Slowly reproducing creatures with a long generation time, like humans, do not have the capacity to withstand such a high death rate. This is a problem because the minimum reproductive rate needed for humans to avoid continued genetic decline is over a trillion offspring per woman per generation. Obviously, we cannot produced this rapidly and therefore our overall gene pool will continue to decline quite rapidly toward eventual extinction.

      You also are not addressing the problem that while a single point mutation in one individual may not do very much damage all by its little self, the vast majority of functional mutations are detrimental to one degree or another. A mutation does not have to be lethal to be functionally detrimental. The gradual build-up of sub-lethal mutations, within the gene pool as a whole, will eventually result in a lethal level of these mutations for the entire gene pool. At this point, the gene pool will go extinct. Sub-lethal detrimental mutations which are only slightly detrimental to overall functionality, are actually much more problematic for the gene pool as a whole than are mutations that are immediately lethal – which cannot be passed on to the next generation.

      What solution do you propose to solve what seems like an overwhelming problem for Neo-Darwinists? What is able to remove the detrimental mutations from the gene pool as fast or faster than they are entering it?

      That is the fundamental question Stanford is asking. What is your proposed solution?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  7. Sean Pitman: You don’t seem to understand the very basis of the Darwinian mechanism of RM/NS in that you actually think it is comparable to human-style creativity and intelligence.

    It is true that I am not a geneticist, and I probably don’t understand everything, but as a physician, I have had many years of hands on experience working with population based processes. What you describe does not match up with reality as observed by me. I would submit that you fail to see the overarching and universal nature of the principles described by Darwin as well.

    Which brings us back to the original issue raised by Educate Truth. I am not alone in my lack of understanding. In fact I am among the majority of highly educated people who don’t understand. What is the appropriate response to people who “don’t understand”. Are you going to kick me and all the rest out of the church?

    I think that goes against the whole tenner of the Bible. In the Bible I see god trying to ever draw closer to those who don’t understand, and being patient with their folly. (Luke 9:54) It seems to me that he is trying to create a safe place for them to explore their doubts. (The woman at the well, Nicodemus). His focus is on trying to find ways to broaden community (Messiah, God with us), not to shrink it.

    Has it occurred to you that this issue might be a defining issue in the last judgement not because of whether we do or don’t believe in evolution, but because it reveals the true hearts of the believers toward each other and our ability to create a diverse community? (Mathew 25:31-46)

    I think John McLarty has a better approach.
    (http://books.google.com/books?id=MM9lTDZ321IC&pg=PA35&lpg=false#v=onepage&q&f=false)




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      • @Sean Pitman:
        What I am saying, is that the pattern that
        Darwin described, increasing variability, being constrained by natural selection, is a process that happens in more parts of the universe than just biology. He described it first in biology, but it isn’t limited to biology.

        For example, we see the principle at work in the evolution of things that are clearly intelligently designed. Hence my assertion that evolution and intelligent design are not mutually exclusive. We see the process at work in our neurological and intellectual development, and we see the process at work in the social and political spheres as well.

        If God is the creator, and creation reveals the character of God, then this process must say SOMETHING about God. What it says, positive, or negative, we can debate. Maybe you want to take the position that this principle is only in the universe as the result of sin. Maybe, that’s OK, at least it’s rational. But to deny the existence of a principle that is so pervasive, throughout everything, just isn’t rational. Somewhere, somehow, we are going to have to develop a theology that addresses the issue somehow other than simple denial.

        I am afraid that if we continue simply denying the existence of evolution, and asserting that evolution and the belief in God are incompatible, then we will eventually force people to reject God, because evolution is completely pervasive in our lives. You can’t help but see it. Whereas, God often seems distant or remote. Especially during the dark night of the soul. So people when they are at their weakest, and most tempted, they are likely to believe what they can readily see, and discard what they at the moment, cannot see. I think that is already happening with many of our young people, and I think it is tragic.




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        • @Ron:

          What I am saying, is that the pattern that
          Darwin described, increasing variability, being constrained by natural selection, is a process that happens in more parts of the universe than just biology. He described it first in biology, but it isn’t limited to biology.

          The disagreement here isn’t over increasing variability without any additional qualification. Things that are getting old and decaying over time also show increased variability. The argument with Neo-Darwinists is over the notion that the quality of functional/meaningful information within a gene pool can improve over time without the involvement of deliberate intelligent manipulation.

          This is in fact what Darwin suggested. His theory wasn’t simply about any old form of variation over time. His theory was about stepwise genetic improvements or enhancements at higher and higher levels of functional complexity over time.

          This is where Dr. Sanford and the rest of us disagree with Darwin. Darwin thought that gene pools could be able to consistently and gradually improve over time. The problem is that the changes and variability generated by random mutations and natural selection alone (without the involvement of intelligent manipulation) produce downhill variability over time. They cause the gene pool to become less and less viable until it eventually melts down completely and dies. That’s the problem here.

          For example, we see the principle at work in the evolution of things that are clearly intelligently designed. Hence my assertion that evolution and intelligent design are not mutually exclusive.

          Indeed. Any time intelligence is involved, a series of stepwise improvements over time is possible. However, when intelligence is not directly involved, random mutations and natural selection will result in the steady decay of meaningful/functional information systems… which is what is currently happening to your own DNA and to the DNA in the human gene pool as a whole.

          But to deny the existence of a principle that is so pervasive, throughout everything, just isn’t rational. Somewhere, somehow, we are going to have to develop a theology that addresses the issue somehow other than simple denial.

          Again, no one is denying the fact of change over time – even via purely mindless mechanisms. The only thing in question here is which way the change is going when only mindless mechanisms are in play? – Up or Down the ladder of functional complexity?

          I am afraid that if we continue simply denying the existence of evolution, and asserting that evolution and the belief in God are incompatible, then we will eventually force people to reject God, because evolution is completely pervasive in our lives.

          Yet again, no one is denying evolution here as basic “change over time”. Some form of change over time is always happening. The problem, of course, is with the Darwinian concept that natural mechanisms can produced improved changes over time without the detectable aid of any form of intelligence.

          There is also the observation that slowly reproducing biosystems (like all types of mammals) are in fact degenerating before our very eyes.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  8. Ron,

    You are right that if one allows intelligent guidance, and ignore the Biblical story and theological difficulties, slow guided evolution is as much a theoretical possibility as a recent creation. And you are right that when we humans create, we often do so incrementally.

    But try selling that idea to your local evolutionary biologist. The official line, and one most evolutionary biologists are prepared to defend vigorously regardless of the evidence for it, is that no guidance is necessary. That is the whole difference in their minds between natural selection and artificial selection.

    The reason why natural selection is looked upon with such favor by many scientists is precisely that they view it as unguided. Thus it is within the purview of science as they would define it, namely the search for naturalistic explanations of natural phenomena. Your concession, that it requires intelligent design in addition to random mutations and natural selection (or some other unknown natural process or processes) would be anathema (in an almost religious sense) to them.

    This could actually get interesting. Let’s agree up front that natural selection by itself, even when working on mutations, is inadequate to account for all of life on earth, and that the evidence strongly indicates the frequent or massive (or both) intervention of an intelligent designer or designers, in addition to natural selection, random mutations, and other natural processes. Then let’s see where that evidence takes us.

    Are you up to it? Or should we go back to discussing whether natural selection and random mutations are an adequate explanation without intelligent design, a position which you appeared to abandon above? Your call.




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    • @Ron:

      The reasons why you’re disagreeing with Dr. Sanford are what don’t seem to make rational sense – especially for someone with your educational background…

      For example, you don’t seem to recognize that the vast majority of genetic mutations have a sub-lethal detrimental functional effects on the genome. You don’t seem to recognize that if every child in the entire human race is always born with more detrimental mutations than his/her parents had, even if those mutations are only slightly detrimental, that the entire human gene pool is in a state of decline – of declining genomic quality that will eventually result in extinction of the entire human race. You don’t seem to realize that slightly detrimental mutations are more problematic to the functional quality of the gene pool than are those mutations that are immediately lethal to the individual before they can be passed on to the next generation.

      You also don’t seem to recognize the fundamental differences between the ways human intelligence can work to create better and better stuff with the ways that RM/NS work… ways which are very limited in comparison given that RM/NS has no foresight, no memory, no goal in mind, no intuition, no ability to learn, etc… This is all very limiting to the mechanism of RM/NS when it comes to being able to create new things or even to maintain what is already in place at the same level of informational/functional quality.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  9. Paul Giem: But try selling that idea to your local evolutionary biologist.

    Actually, I am not interested. I think they would be as hard to convince as fundamentalists, and as I have said before, I think both sides in the debate are wrong.

    “Let’s agree up front that natural selection by itself, even when working on mutations, is inadequate to account for all of life on earth, and that the evidence strongly indicates the frequent or massive (or both) intervention of an intelligent designer or designers, in addition to natural selection, random mutations, and other natural processes.”

    OK, I already believe that the entire process, at minimum, is at least under the supervision of God if not under his actual direct guidance, so if you agree that natural selection acting on diversity (which is the way I would prefer to say it) has at least some role, somewhere in the process, then we have some foundation for discussion. It doesn’t mean that at some point we won’t have to agree to disagree, but at least it opens the door for exploration in a safe, constructive atmosphere.

    Here are some ground rules for the discussion:
    1. Where ever this leads us, in the end it is OK to disagree, and we both get to stay in the church.

    2. I will further stipulate that at a minimum, the writer of Genesis intended the six days to be literal within the context of the story. Whether the story as a whole was intended to be literal, or poetic is open to discussion. I have no firm opinion one way or another. (Well, that’s not true exactly, I don’t think it really matters.)

    3. For the purposes of this discussion. God exists.

    4. The discussion is to remain respectful, and we take all observations scientific and theological as being offered with a good will and honest intent. Pejoratives are a-priori non-persuasive.

    5. Everyone is welcome to participate as long as they abide by the ground rules.

    If you have ground rules you would like to add, spell them out. If you agree with the above, then why don’t you start by laying out the issues as you see them. I already gave a broad outline of my position in the comments above.

    (Only, I have to go now, so it will be awhile before I can respond.)




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  10. Ron: 2. I will further stipulate that at a minimum, the writer of Genesis intended the six days to be literal within the context of the story. Whether the story as a whole was intended to be literal, or poetic is open to discussion. I have no firm opinion one way or another. (Well, that’s not true exactly, I don’t think it really matters.)

    3. For the purposes of this discussion. God exists.

    It is kind of you to go along with point 3 above. That helps a lot when discussing this issue at Educate Truth.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  11. Ron: 2. I will further stipulate that at a minimum, the writer of Genesis intended the six days to be literal within the context of the story. Whether the story as a whole was intended to be literal, or poetic is open to discussion. I have no firm opinion one way or another. (Well, that’s not true exactly, I don’t think it really matters.)

    If you have ground rules you would like to add, spell them out. If you agree with the above, then why don’t you start by laying out the issues as you see them. I already gave a broad outline of my position in the comments above.

    1. The Bible is the inspired word of God.

    2. Exegeting the text means that we cannot afford to ignore the fact that the author claims that God makes the world in a real 7 day week (as even you admit) and that in Exodus 20:11 God himself chooses to summarize that point equating the 7 day week of Genesis 1-2:3 to the 7 day week at Sinai in Exodus 20.

    3. When God says of the Sabbath that we are to work 6 days and rest the 7th He argues the point NOT at the level “I am bigger than you and can make stuff up as it pleases Me” but rather “FOR in Six days the Lord MADE… and rested the 7th day” – thus appealing to the very attribute in the Gen 1-2 account that many T.E.s find least trustworthy.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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    • @BobRyan:
      I agree that the Bible is the inspired word of God, but I am certain that that means something quite different to me than it does to you. I am not sure we should get side tracked in a discussion about the nature of inspiration in this forum.

      In regards to Biblical authority,
      a. I see it much different than you,
      b. Even on my best days, I am not sure I really understand the Bible better than I understand science or the voice of the Holy Spirit.
      c. I would stipulate that we do not truly understand any of the three authorities until we are able to reconcile all three.




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      • @Ron:

        The relatively uneducated pre-science people at Sinai “understood” what a 7 day week was in terms of the Ex 20:8-11 command to keep the Sabbath.

        The text itself summarizes the 7 day week of Genesis 1-2 in the same context, same language, same author, given to the same audience.

        As even our non-SDA friend Dr. Sanford illustrated in the video – that detail is pretty hard to ignore.

        So this is really not an issue of not being able to discover what the text really says.

        in Christ,

        Bob




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  12. I know that the Drosophilia fruit fly has undergone hundreds of mutations. How have they been evolving? Did all these result in a much more “fit” fruitfly? Or are the “fittest” ones still the “normal” ones without the mutations. Does anyone know?




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    • @Holly Pham:
      The hundreds of mutations in a fruit fly would correspond to the random variation that exists at the beginning of the evolutionary experiment. We don’t know which mutations are going to be beneficial or detrimental until the environment changes. The definition depends entirely on what happens in the environment.

      An example of this in humans is sickle cell anemia. In an otherwise minimally stressful environment with a high prevalence of malaria, sickle cell disease is beneficial because it makes it harder for the malaria to infect. As a result, natural selection is in favor of sickle cell.

      In a relatively stressful environment with a low prevalence of malaria, like we have in temperate latitudes, then sickle cell trait becomes a detriment and it is selected against.

      Again, let me stress. At its heart, this is all that Darwin is saying. To me at least, it seems simple and straight forward, and it does nothing to compromise my belief in God.

      The challenge is that, we can be pretty certain neither Adam nor Eve had sickle cell disease in the garden of Eden. So then where did sickle cell come from? It came as a random mutation of a single base pair in the hemoglobin gene. This event, by definition, since it wasn’t there in the garden of Eden is an example of evolution which has occurred since creation.

      The next question becomes, then what was God’s role in that event? Did it happen “naturally” with no involvement by God? Maybe as the result of sin? If you answer is yes, then you believe in a-theistic evolution. If you answer is no, I believe that God was involved in that apparently random event, then you believe in theistic evolution.

      Without taking the time to find the reference now, I believe it is in DA, Mrs. White has a very nice description of how God upholds and sustains all of creation, even to guiding the movements of individual atoms. I would quote Paul. It is in Christ that we live, and move, and have our being. So, I chose to believe that God was involved in the process and I am a theistic evolutionist. Bob on the other hand chooses to focus on Mrs. Whites statement in 2SM that theistic evolution is the worst of heresies. So even though I can’t get him to answer the question directly, I presume that he would chose to believe in a-theistic evolution.

      Of course, if you take my position, then you have to answer, how can a loving God create, or at minimum, allow sickle cell disease to cause so much suffering as it does in our world today. The answer to that question is more complex than I want to get into now. I believe it was the same reason he allowed sin in the first place. There are larger issues at stake which justify allowing the suffering.




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      • @Ron:

        The hundreds of mutations in a fruit fly would correspond to the random variation that exists at the beginning of the evolutionary experiment. We don’t know which mutations are going to be beneficial or detrimental until the environment changes. The definition depends entirely on what happens in the environment.

        Given knowledge about the genome of the parent population at the beginning of the experiment, the average mutation rate per offspring per generation can be determined.

        This mutation rate is now known. As Dr. Sanford explained, it is on the order of 100 novel mutations per individual per generation for humans (with a similar mutation rate for most other living things over a given span of time). Of these 100 mutations, greater than 30 are now considered to be functionally relevant to one degree or another. Of these 30, almost all of them are thought to be only slightly detrimental in their functional effect. The odds that one will be beneficial to any degree are generally agreed to be less than 1/1000 (with some estimates of less than 1/1,000,000).

        In order to keep up with this rate of detrimental mutations, slowly reproducing creatures, like humans, would have to produce an average of over a trillion offspring per woman per generation – just to stay genetically neutral. This required reproductive rate would also require an equivalent death rate per generation. Obviously, this sort of reproductive/death rate isn’t remotely plausible for humans.

        So, the obvious question, how can anyone possibly argue that we aren’t and haven’t always been headed for extinction as a species?

        An example of this in humans is sickle cell anemia. In an otherwise minimally stressful environment with a high prevalence of malaria, sickle cell disease is beneficial because it makes it harder for the malaria to infect. As a result, natural selection is in favor of sickle cell.

        Dr. Sanford mentioned the popular example of sickle cell anemia as a “beneficial” mutation as a classic example of devolutionary, or downhill, change. While this change is selectable in certain environments by natural selection, it is based on a loss of functionality from the perspective of the individual who suffered this particular mutation. There is no genetic improvement here. If more and more of these types of mutations were suffered by an individual, that individual would function less and less well and would eventually die given enough of these mutations. Just because he/she may be given a survival advantage in a particular environment relative to other individuals is irrelevant to the fact that this individual is not functioning as well. The hemoglobin molecule in SSA is damaged to the point where not even the malaria parasite can use it. Additional genetic insults of this type within a given gene pool will cause that gene pool to head downhill toward eventual extinction.

        The challenge is that, we can be pretty certain neither Adam nor Eve had sickle cell disease in the garden of Eden. So then where did sickle cell come from? It came as a random mutation of a single base pair in the hemoglobin gene. This event, by definition, since it wasn’t there in the garden of Eden is an example of evolution which has occurred since creation.

        Perfectly true. You’re absolutely correct. You just don’t seem to grasp the significance of the functionally downhill direction of this mutation…

        The next question becomes, then what was God’s role in that event? Did it happen “naturally” with no involvement by God? Maybe as the result of sin? If you answer is yes, then you believe in a-theistic evolution. If you answer is no, I believe that God was involved in that apparently random event, then you believe in theistic evolution.

        So, you believe that God directly causes sickle cell anemia? You do realize that the only people with sickle cell anemia that gain a survival advantage are those who are heterozygous for the disease? Who only have a single mutation instead of two? Those who are homozygous for sickle cell (have two sickle cell mutations), are very sick people with a markedly reduced survival rate. These people would die in childhood without the involvement of modern medical treatments. And you think God is directly responsible for that?

        I suppose you think God also deliberately causes the mutations that produce childhood leukemia or Down Syndrome or cri du chat syndrome? – all of which are the result of apparently random mutations?

        Of course, if you take my position, then you have to answer, how can a loving God create, or at minimum, allow sickle cell disease to cause so much suffering as it does in our world today. The answer to that question is more complex than I want to get into now. I believe it was the same reason he allowed sin in the first place. There are larger issues at stake which justify allowing the suffering.

        Your position seems to me to make God out to be a monster far more evil and sinister than Hitler ever dreamed of being…

        It is far better to simply say, as the Bible does, that decay and eventual death are the natural result of a separation from God’s constant personal care and regenerative creative power. We have separated ourselves from God, to at least some degree, at the moral Fall… and have been in a state of steady decay and degeneration, as a species, ever since.

        Sean Pitman
        http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  13. Ron: Yes, that is part of the point I am making. If you look at houses, you will see that they definitely evolve over time, and yet the process involves, intelligent design, as well as random variation, as well as natural selection.

    The evolution of houses is:
    a. not a biological process
    b. is the result of intelligent design
    c. is also the result of Darwinian evolution, i.e. the process exhibits the properties of random variation and natural selection.

    This is in fact a very good example of why intelligent design and evolution are not incompatible.

    1. First of all it is agreed that many who promote I.D. also promote evolution.

    However those evolutionists that choose to reject the glaringly obvious attribute of I.D seen in nature are taking a distinctively atheist line of reasoning whether or not they are also atheist. At best they are self-conflicted when they do that as a Christian.

    2. Secondly your house illustration is very much the kind of evolution and I.D. that we are in agreement – where a master architect and builder must advance the development of the building at each step. The architect does not simply lay a very very good basement foundation and then watch as a house pops up in place over time.

    And when selection is made in the case of a house – it is made by a thinking mind.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  14. Shouldn’t the people of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Chernobly, Three Mile Island, and other radioactive places be forming beneficial mutations and “evolving” faster than we “less fortunate” beings?

    Have any beneficial mutations been seen or discovered among these people?




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  15. Aren’t there limitations to even selective breeding of animals? Don’t we see that there is a place or limit where further “selection” does not create “more fit” creatures, whatever that might be?

    For an example, we have been breeding horses for probably several thousands of years, yet the record for the Kentucky Derby was set in 1973. For the past almost 40 years, horsebreeders have selectively bred horses to run faster, but even with the “intellegent design” of men, not one horse has been produced who could run faster.




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    • @Holly Pham:
      Yes Holly, there are limitations. It is very difficult for the process to be reversed. But even that has happened as we have seen with the return of marine mammals to the ocean.

      RE: Chernobyl: It remains to be seen. It takes several generations. There is variability in the ability of people to tolerate ionizing radiation. I imagine if people continue to live in exposed areas, that we will eventually find a population that tolerates it better than other populations. That doesn’t mean that the exposure to radiation is good, or beneficial. What it means is that Darwin’s principles are true. i.e. there is currently in the population individuals who tolerate ionizing radiation better than others (random variability), and that by changing the environment, i.e. exposing the population to more radiation, natural selection will cause the population as a whole, to become more tolerant i.e. better adapted to living with high levels of radiation.

      Now, only for the moment, for the sake of discussion, if what I described were true, would that in any way undermine your faith in God? I don’t think so. In fact, I think it would increase your confidence in God’s wisdom. At least it would mine. I just can’t fathom how that is incompatible with a belief in God?




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      • @Ron:

        RE: Chernobyl: It remains to be seen. It takes several generations. There is variability in the ability of people to tolerate ionizing radiation. I imagine if people continue to live in exposed areas, that we will eventually find a population that tolerates it better than other populations. That doesn’t mean that the exposure to radiation is good, or beneficial. What it means is that Darwin’s principles are true. i.e. there is currently in the population individuals who tolerate ionizing radiation better than others (random variability), and that by changing the environment, i.e. exposing the population to more radiation, natural selection will cause the population as a whole, to become more tolerant i.e. better adapted to living with high levels of radiation.

        This is true in a very limited sense… limited in that there are limits to the degree of toleration to mutagens that can be evolved in any population.

        That’s the problem with Neo-Darwinists. They recognize no limits to the creative potential of RM/NS. They also do not recognize that the steady decline in the informational quality of the genome is an observed fact of science – a fact that you have yet to recognize yourself…

        Sean Pitman
        http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  16. Sean Pitman: What is able to remove the detrimental mutations from the gene pool as fast or faster than they are entering it?

    Ok, here is one, just a stab in the dark off the top of my head. How about a second mutation which returns the base pair back to it’s original form. I haven’t researched this, but I would imagine that the odds would be about equal since it is the same process going in both directions. But of course it is unlikely anyone would notice, because it would return to the norm.

    Again, I am not a molecular biologist and I don’t know the details, but my son tells me there is a system to check for, and correct transcription errors.

    And there is always natural selection which will increase the prevalence of the best gene in the population.




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    • @Ron:

      What is able to remove the detrimental mutations from the gene pool as fast or faster than they are entering it? – Sean Pitman

      Ok, here is one, just a stab in the dark off the top of my head. How about a second mutation which returns the base pair back to it’s original form? I haven’t researched this, but I would imagine that the odds would be about equal since it is the same process going in both directions. But of course it is unlikely anyone would notice, because it would return to the norm.

      Well, at least you’re starting to think about the actual problem in play. What you are describing here are known as “reversion mutations”. They are real and relatively common. They can be directly identified in lab experiments. The only problem, of course, is your assumption that they are equally common. They aren’t nearly as common as the original detrimental mutation was to begin with.

      The reason for this is rather obvious once you consider the odds of a random mutation hitting a particular point in a sequence of characters… and then hitting that same point again by purely random chance and mutating the character back to the original character by random chance.

      Now, consider the odds of a character position being mutated in the human genome of ~6 billion base pairs. The odds that some character position will get mutated somewhere are very close to 100% since the average mutation rate per individual per generation is ~100 mutations. Now, consider the odds that a reversion mutation will occur for any one of these 100 mutations? The odds of that happening are approximately 100/6 billion/3 = around 1 chance in 100 million mutations.

      See the problem? Reversion mutations don’t remotely solve the problem that Dr. Sanford is presenting…

      Again, I am not a molecular biologist and I don’t know the details, but my son tells me there is a system to check for, and correct transcription errors.

      Yes, there is. But, as Dr. Sanford explained in his lecture, the mutation rate we’re talking about here is the errors that remain after the correction system has done it’s job. The original mutation rate is tens of thousands every day. The fantastic correction mechanism in our cells detects and corrects the vast majority of these errors. However, the correction mechanism isn’t perfect. And, that’s the problem… a very very big problem.

      And there is always natural selection which will increase the prevalence of the best gene in the population.

      Natural selection is dependent upon the premature death of those “less fit” individuals within a population before they have a chance to reproduce. In order for natural selection to keep up with the rate of detrimental mutations that enter the gene pool every single generation, the average woman would have to give birth to over a trillion offspring… all but two of which would have to die prematurely.

      Obviously, such a high reproductive/death rate is not remotely feasible for humans. We are therefore destined to steadily decay, as a population, over time toward inevitable extinction. This is a currently observed fact. We are detectably heading downhill right now. There really is no argument here… no known solution to this problem for Neo-Darwinists.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  17. ron: It is a little ironic that his very first text, Heb. 1:10-12 talks about God is going to change things, i.e. theistic evolution

    This guy is out of touch with reality. Information degrades? That does not correspond to reality. Lets compare the navigational data available to Christopher Columbus, to the information available to me for example. My information is infinitely better, and I am not even in a disciple that uses navigation.

    Compare our understanding of physics now compared even to the time of Einstein. Even as a non-physicist, I know things about physics that were not knowable by Einstein.

    In your illustrations you are confusing the concept of “body of knowledge” (accomplished with creativity and imagination intrinsic to sentient life) – vs the more fundamental concept of decay inherent in information storage, transmission and translation (decoding) over time.

    Consider a single book – how long will the information in the book “last” if that book is heavily used?

    Decay over time is inherent in all systems designed as storage media for data. This includes biophysics applications in the case of DNA limited by genetic mutations over time (as pointed out in the vid).

    Consider data transmission over many links and the need to introduce parity checks for loss of data (“mistakes”) inherent in the physics of the process itself.

    Every form of information storage, transmit, translation etc known to man – breaks down over time – and this video reminds us that this holds true at the bio-molecular level in the case of DNA.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  18. At 1:15:50 the case is made that the Atheist world view is based on 4 points.

    1. Spontaneous Universe
    2. Spontaneous Life
    3. Spontaneous ascent of life
    4. Spontaneous man

    The statements follows that all 4 pillars are failing and none of them are intellectually defensible.

    That is an amazing observation!

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  19. BobRyan: Consider a single book – how long will the information in the book “last” if that book is heavily used?

    No, I am not confusing human genetic and human knowledge. What I am saying is that evolutionary principles apply to more than just biology.

    Re: the book: my observation is that the more helpful the book is, and the more people read it, the more likely it is that the information in it will be preserved, even if a specific book degenerates and is destroyed. What’s more. As more and more people interact with the information, the information evolves. i.e. we find out how the information operates, or doesn’t, in more and more environments, in more and more detail. It appears to me that Darwinian principles apply even to the information in a lowly book.




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  20. Ron,

    Sorry, I can’t be at my computer all day, so this may be a little slow, but worth it.

    To go over your ground rules:

    Here are some ground rules for the discussion:
    1. Where ever this leads us, in the end it is OK to disagree, and we both get to stay in the church.

    Agreed. Furthermore, as long as we are honest and open about what we are doing, I won’t try to get you fired. If I disagree enough, I simply ask that I not be required to allow you to teach my children, and the reverse should hold.

    2. I will further stipulate that at a minimum, the writer of Genesis intended the six days to be literal within the context of the story. Whether the story as a whole was intended to be literal, or poetic is open to discussion. I have no firm opinion one way or another. (Well, that’s not true exactly, I don’t think it really matters.)

    Perhaps you could explain what is true exactly.

    3. For the purposes of this discussion. God exists.

    Agreed. Can we further agree that God did not “use” unguided evolution as His sole means of creation?

    4. The discussion is to remain respectful, and we take all observations scientific and theological as being offered with a good will and honest intent. Pejoratives are a-priori non-persuasive.

    I would mostly agree with this. I would say that we take all observations scientific and theological as being valid as presented, unless it can be shown that they are inaccurate, or that there is a good reason to doubt their accuracy. And I am willing to put the burden of proof fairly high. I just don’t want to have a situation where, for example, someone publishes in the peer-reviewed literature, and the publication is retracted, and it gets to be counted as valid evidence anyway.

    5. Everyone is welcome to participate as long as they abide by the ground rules.

    No problem, although you will probably get more response from others than from me, given my schedule.

    Deal?




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  21. BobRyan: First of all it is agreed that many who promote I.D. also promote evolution.

    However those evolutionists that choose to reject the glaringly obvious attribute of I.D seen in nature are taking a distinctively atheist line of reasoning whether or not they are also atheist.

    Good. I am glad that we can agree on # 1.
    I have no desire to reject I.D. in nature. I will not defend an atheistic position. As we stipulated, God exists. And as I explained to Holly, I am a theistic evolutionist. My primary goal is to create enough room in the church for me and others like me to continue as members.

    RE: #2. Houses evolving. Thank you. I don’t know how much difference it makes to the overall discussion of evolution, but for me it is gratifying to find someone who will agree that at least at a philosophical level, there is some sense in which inanimate objects evolve through a process of repeated intelligent design. I guess I am hoping that it at least makes the concept of evolution less threatening.




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  22. Ron – I am more than happy to agree with the house illustration because in that case you have creators “creating” — we do not have the house “upgrading itself” or “self organizing”.

    I think it is pretty hard for a creationist to object to such a model.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  23. Ron: Re: the book: my observation is that the more helpful the book is, and the more people read it, the more likely it is that the information in it will be preserved, even if a specific book degenerates and is destroyed.

    In that case you rely on the information being preserved by an act of intelligent creators – not due to the intrinsic properties of the medium in which the information is stored (that single book).

    When we talk about entropy – we are discussing the physical characteristics of the medium for storage, transmission and translation itself. We are not saying that the creators that choose to store the information – cannot also choose to create other mediums so as to preserve it or improve it.

    Intelligent designers – improve, preserve information even though all the information stored, transmitted, translated is always undergoing increased [informational] entropy.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  24. Sean Pitman: Also, the particular observation raised by Dr. Sanford, that living things are devolving toward eventual extinction, is a fact of science. This observation can be and has been directly measured in real time. We know which way “evolution” is going when it comes to slowly reproducing creatures with long generation times.

    Sean Pitman: We are therefore destined to steadily decay, as a population, over time toward inevitable extinction. This is a currently observed fact. We are detectably heading downhill right now. There really is no argument here… no known solution to this problem for Neo-Darwinists.

    Perhaps I missed something (I haven’t seen the video), but if this is truly an accepted “fact of science” and there “really is no argument” about it within the scientific community, is there any published scientific literature on this subject? If so, I would like to see some references.

    I’m hoping this isn’t yet another creationist claim eventually tumbling downhill like the Paluxy River dinosaurs.




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    • @Eddie:

      Sure, here’s something I wrote a while back on the topic which includes references to several papers in the literature that you may find interesting:

      http://www.detectingdesign.com/dnamutationrates.html#Detrimental

      In short, there are references in literature when it comes to directly measured rates of mutation per individual per generation (as well as over a specific span of time), references to the number of mutations that are likely to have a functional effect on the genome, and references to various theories on how the constant build up of detrimental mutations might be eliminated from the gene pools of slowly reproducing creatures in order to avoid genetic meltdown… none of which are scientifically tenable.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  25. Ron: @Holly Pham:Yes Holly, there are limitations. It is very difficult for the process to be reversed. But even that has happened as we have seen with the return of marine mammals to the ocean…

    So is your answer we are seeing these beneficial results? Or you think we will see them in the future. Hiroshima and Nagasaki occurred a relatively long time ago. Have we seen any evidence of beneficial mutations in the population or their progeny at all?

    All I’ve seen and heard is horrible health and medical problems. When are these beneficial changes to occur? Care to speculate?




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    • @Holly Pham: So is your answer we are seeing these beneficial results?

      No, not at all. The radiation exposure is harmful to everyone in the population. The only thing we are saying, is that some people in the population tolerate the harm better than other individuals in the population. In fact if it were severe enough the whole population would go extinct.

      The genetic variation develops during the stable, low stress times when the population is expanding. During the time of stress/natural selection, the population shrinks until it adapts enough to start expanding again.

      Those who tolerate the stress better are more likely to reproduce, and it is more likely they will have grandchildren who will tolerate the stress better than the grandchildren of those who don’t tolerate it as well. And of course the ones who are extremely sensitive to the stress won’t have any children.

      The evolutionary process doesn’t say anything about the mutations that happen as the result of radiation exposure. You won’t know if any of them are beneficial until the next environmental change occurs.

      To answer your question about Hiroshima and Chernobyl, the experiment will never be done because it would require repeating the exposure to the descendants along with exposing a new control group. Maybe there are enough descendants of Hiroshima were exposed in the Fuhcoshema accident to do the study, but I doubt it.

      By far, most of the mutations are detrimental, but if there is ever, a beneficial one, it tends to propagate throughout the population pretty fast. Since the time of Christ, there have been 38 mutations that help the Tibetan’s live at high altitudes. This allowed them to escape persecution from the Han Chinese. If you took a Tibetan back down to low altitude, it is quite probable that most of those mutations would be detrimental.




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      • @Ron:

        By far, most of the mutations are detrimental, but if there is ever, a beneficial one, it tends to propagate throughout the population pretty fast. Since the time of Christ, there have been 38 mutations that help the Tibetan’s live at high altitudes. This allowed them to escape persecution from the Han Chinese. If you took a Tibetan back down to low altitude, it is quite probable that most of those mutations would be detrimental.

        It seems that a modification of just one gene is primarily responsible for the enhanced ability of Tibetans to tolerate high altitudes (EPAS1). This EPAS1 gene is thought to affect red blood cell production. It happens to be present in both the Han (low altitude) as well as the Tibetan (high altitude) populations. It is just that this gene is present in only 9% of the Han population, but is found in 87% of the Tibetan population.

        “It is the fastest change in the frequency of a mutation described in humans,” said Professor Nielsen (Link).

        So, the evolution responsible for this particular effect is two fold. First, it involved a mutation that enhanced a pre-existing function of red blood cell production. It did not produce a novel type of function that did not already exist. It just increased the amount of what already existed. Such mutations are quite common and are very rapidly evolved via random mutations to pre-existing systems.

        Once realized, this beneficial mutation will indeed spread fairly rapidly throughout the population… as is clearly evident in many such examples.

        None of this, however, discounts or significantly mitigates the reality that detrimental mutations are still building up in all human populations far far faster than they can be removed by natural selection – even in Tibetans. The reason for this is that detrimental mutations greatly outpace the rate of such beneficial mutations (to include reversion mutations). We are all, therefore, rapidly heading downhill toward the eventual and inevitable extinction of the entire human race.

        While this may seem like a hopeless situation, the implications of our situation, as noted by Sanford, are quite hopeful in that they suggest a supernatural (or at least superhuman) origin for humans and a supernatural (or superhuman) solution to our current genetic decline…

        Sean Pitman
        http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  26. Ron: @Holly Pham:The hundreds of mutations in a fruit fly would correspond to the random variation that exists at the beginning of the evolutionary experiment. We don’t know which mutations are going to be beneficial or detrimental until the environment changes….

    Your question of “how” can God allow suffering has been well addressed by numerous theologians. It is also addresse in the Bible. Do you not accept the answers? If not, what is your answer to your question?




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  27. Ron

    I would suggest that the posters on this thread review the many comments on the science on the thread WASC reviews LSU accreditation posts from July 2011.
    http://www.educatetruth.com/news/wasc-reviews-lsus-accreditation/

    It seems from his comments here that for Sean that discussion never really took place or had any impact. He seems impervious to reason or at least recognition that there is any valid alternative view.

    What is clear to me is that the logic of Sanford argument is back to front in 2 ways

    1] There has never been a published observation that human populations are in genetic meltdown in a freeliving population of sufficient size.

    In science one starts with an observation and then develops an hypothesis. Here we have an hypothesis without an original observation. (Lest I get referred back to quotations from Lynch et al, what literature is available considers the likelihood of meltdown in the context of populations removed from selection pressures such as reduced life expectancy due to infections epidemics and in small population size.)

    2] People like Sanford and Vieth with some scientific credentials, erroneously I think, claim science as the basis for their beliefs. Both became Christians and then became literal creationists not the other way round. I have yet to be shown any example of a scientist who starts with the scientific evidence without a religious bias and comes to recent creationism. It (a religious belief in literal creationism) is always projected back onto the science from a faith position and ends up with a cherry-picked version of the science. Again I would add a caveat that the anthropic principle does not count as we have already established in another thread that almost all scientist who accept the anthropic principle also accept evolution.

    Finally Ron I appreciate your argument for reason and for Faith but I expect all your fine efforts will be blown away like the autumn leaves in the face of the wintery breath of angry adventism.




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    • @pauluc:

      I would suggest that the posters on this thread review the many comments on the science on the thread WASC reviews LSU accreditation posts from July 2011.

      http://www.educatetruth.com/news/wasc-reviews-lsus-accreditation/

      It seems from his comments here that for Sean that discussion never really took place or had any impact. He seems impervious to reason or at least recognition that there is any valid alternative view.

      What is clear to me is that the logic of Sanford argument is back to front in 2 ways

      1] There has never been a published observation that human populations are in genetic meltdown in a freeliving population of sufficient size.

      As previously explained back in July of 2011, your problem is that there are published observations that detrimental mutations are building up in humans (and other slowly reproducing creatures) far far faster than they can be eliminated by any known naturalistic means. The average mutation rate, as well as the detrimental mutation rate, is known and has been published. What is not known is how these detrimental mutations can be effectively removed from the human population by any mindless natural mechanism?

      This shouldn’t be news to you except that your memory may be failing you here. The published arguments you previously cited back in July (Link) to try to discredit Dr. Sanford’s position were based on nematode worms – creatures with an extremely high reproductive rate (>5000 offspring per generation) that can tolerate a death rate of greater than 99% per generation. Obviously, this is not the case for humans or other slowly reproducing creatures (like all mammals for instance).

      As I noted before in our original discussion of this topic:

      Sean Pitman:
      If the individual reproductive rate for a nematode worm is around ~5000 offspring during the lifespan of the worm, and only 25 of the offspring are selected to populate the next generation, that is an effective pre-reproductive death rate of over 99%. Again, such a death rate could not be remotely tolerated by a human population…

      My point from the beginning, which you have yet to even address as far as I can tell, is that population size is not enough to compensate for the detrimental mutation rate experienced by slowly reproducing creatures. Do you not understand that the reproductive rate also comes into play? – not just population size? Nematode worms like C. elegans are capable of extremely high rates of reproduction. This is not true for humans or other slowly reproducing animals that cannot sustain such a high mortality rate. And, I fail to see how increasing the population size is going to do anything to solve this problem for slowly reproducing creatures? If you can explain this to me, I’d be most grateful…

      It is easy to explain how bacteria, viruses, and nematode worms can keep up with such bad karma since their potential reproductive rate is in the many thousands per individual per generation. This is simply not true for humans or other slowly reproducing animals…

      What is also interesting is that you mischaracterized my original position in the discussion you reference:

      That was not the point. You said there was no viable mechanisms to remove mutations and I responded with a clear model albeit artificial which showed that natural selection removed mutations. I never at any point tried to pretend it would remove all. You now concede this point but narrow the goal post to large slowly reproducing animals. – Pauluc

      Your memory seems to be failing you. I ask you, what did I originally say in my post of August 6 at 8:49 am? Here, let me help you:

      Sean Pitman – “What is not published in literature is any viable mechanism whereby the overwhelming load of detrimental mutations might be removed from the gene pools of slowly reproducing creatures (like all mammals for example) nearly as fast as they are entering it.”

      You went on to finally admit:

      I do not know of a mechanism beyond that of selection shown in model systems for the removal of large slowly reproducing species. I am not arrogant enough to say there is no mechanism fulfilling the criteria you have selected but I am prepared to consider it unknown. – Pauluc (Link)

      So, you see, it seems to be that it is your memory that is failing you. Either that, or you’re the one who is “impervious to reason”. As far as I’m able to tell, you just seem to want to continue to ignore the evidence regardless of how strong it may be against your original positions (Link).

      In science one starts with an observation and then develops an hypothesis. Here we have an hypothesis without an original observation.

      Not true. The original observation is the known rate of detrimental mutations per individual per generation and the required death rate needed to deal with this detrimental mutation rate in such a way as to avoid constant genetic deterioration. This observation has implications that are quite clear to many scientists – even to those who may not wish to admit it.

      Even you have admitted that you do not know the solution to this problem…

      (Lest I get referred back to quotations from Lynch et al, what literature is available considers the likelihood of meltdown in the context of populations removed from selection pressures such as reduced life expectancy due to infections epidemics and in small population size.)

      That’s also not true. The literature that is available suggests a steady buildup of detrimental mutations regardless of population size and regardless of the strength of selection pressures applied (again, for slowly reproducing creatures like humans and all other mammals in particular).

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • Sean

        You say;
        “As previously explained back in July of 2011, your problem is that there are published observations that detrimental mutations are building up in humans (and other slowly reproducing creatures) far far faster than they can be eliminated by any known naturalistic means.”

        This is indeed the basic published observation that I seek. Where is the published observations? I cannot find any data in the published literature that support genetic meltdown as the universal phenomena you and Sanford propose. I have always admitted I could be wrong and have freely and unequivocally admitted I misinterpreted your original question in July but I do respect the process of science and would appreciate the source of the data showing the build up of mutations in humans indicated by the term “meltdown”. This is all I am asking. I do not ask for statistical models based on mutation rates and some predictions of the removal rate. Further evidence on rate of new mutations per individual is superfluous as that is not at all in contention. With a 6000 year history of life you should be able to readily demonstrate with any of the archived samples of DNA from for example an Egyptian mummy dating from the time of the flood.
        simply multiply 100 by the number of generations since the flood. Call it 30 years per generation and 3000 years. 10000 more mutations in a recent genome compared to an egyptian mummy should be easily detectable among the mere 25000 human genes. Why do you not test this hypothesis?

        A search of pubmed give 4 hits for “deleterious mutations AND human AND meltdown” none particularly useful in answering the question you raise. A search of “deleterious mutations AND human AND selection” gives 369 papers including the last 10 ;
        1: Keightley PD. Rates and fitness consequences of new mutations in humans. Genetics. 2012 Feb;190(2):295-304.
        2: Nakagome S, et al Crohn’s disease risk alleles on the NOD2 locus have been maintained by natural selection on standing variation. Mol Biol Evol. 2012 Jan 12.
        3: Hvilsom et al Extensive X-linked adaptive evolution in central chimpanzees. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Feb 7;109(6):2054-9.
        4: Kim DW, Jeong S, Kim DS, Kim HS, Seo SB, Hahn Y. Inactivation of the MSLNL gene encoding mesothelin-like protein during African great ape evolution. Gene.2012 Mar 15;496(1):17-21.
        5: Gordo I,et al. Fitness effects of mutations in bacteria. J Mol Microbiol Biotechnol. 2011;21(1-2):20-35.
        6: Tamuri AU, et al Estimating the Distribution of Selection Coefficients from Phylogenetic Data Using Sitewise Mutation-Selection Models. Genetics. 2012 Jan 20.
        7: Fernández et al. Subfunctionalization reduces the fitness cost of gene duplication in humans by buffering dosage imbalances. BMC Genomics. 2011 Dec 14;12:604.
        8: Lohmueller KE,et al Natural selection affects multiple aspects of genetic variation at putatively neutral sites across the human genome. PLoS Genet. 2011 Oct;7(10):e1002326.
        9: Cusack BP et al Preventing dangerous nonsense:selection for robustness to transcriptional error in human genes. PLoS Genet.2011 Oct;7(10):e1002276.
        10: Gundry M, Vijg J. Direct mutation analysis by high-throughput sequencing:From germline to low-abundant, somatic variants. Mutat Res. 2012 Jan 3;729(1-2):1-15.

        I would suggest that these scientists are addressing the issue of deleterious mutations that is inherent in the concept of genomic doom not by handwaving and freestanding theoretical constructs but by experiment and hypothesis testing. They are exploring the natural mechanisms the way science always does. Some of these mechanisms include sexual reproduction with recombination at meiosis, purifying, positive and negative selection in populations and selection for mechanism for error correction in germline or in gene expression. When I say “I do not know” in science that is shorthand for there is uncertainty and many possible explanatory hypotheses not an admission of cluelessness and inability to generate any hypothesis which seems to be the way you are spinning it.

        Yes you may well be right in claiming Sanford came to his religious conclusions based on the science but after listening to his talk I think the process is likely much more complex than that and I would not accept that contention at face value anymore than I would accept his characterization of the work of Kimura or other geneticists (See http://letterstocreationists.wordpress.com/stan-4/ for a reasoned critique of the science in Sanfords book). What seems indisputable is his trajectory of belief
        atheism 1980s
        theistic evolution 1985-1990s
        Old earth creationism 1990s
        Young earth creationism 2000-present
        You may indeed judge this as a developing belief in God derived directly from study of the science however the causality may be the other way round. I would at least consider it possible that in his “science” he is a classic example of Mortons Demon and contend that his clearly unorthodox view of genetics is driven by his religious beliefs and a documented drift into fundamentalism with its associated comforting certainty. Reading his book one cannot escape his dogmatic and jarring “angry creationist” style, the antithesis of well reasoned science.




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        • @pauluc:

          I have always admitted I could be wrong and have freely and unequivocally admitted I misinterpreted your original question in July but I do respect the process of science and would appreciate the source of the data showing the build up of mutations in humans indicated by the term “meltdown”. This is all I am asking. I do not ask for statistical models based on mutation rates and some predictions of the removal rate. Further evidence on rate of new mutations per individual is superfluous as that is not at all in contention.

          The human genome/gene pool is not currently in functional “meltdown” mode. What I said is that it is heading toward a meltdown. As Sanford touched on in his lecture, our gene pool is in a current state of gradual and inevitable deterioration that will eventually result in a catastrophic functional “meltdown” once a certain threshold of detrimental mutations is realized within the gene pool. At this point, rapid extinction of the entire population will take place.

          What is not contested is that the mutation rate per individual per generation is very high at around 100 mutations/individual/generation (taking into account all forms of random mutation, to include indel-type mutations). Of these far greater than 5 mutations (even greater than 30 given current knowledge of the 80-90% functionality of the genome) are functionally detrimental with most being “near neutral” in their functional effects and therefore able to go essentially unaffected by natural selection over time.

          There is no argument, in literature, that these mutations build up over time and that they far outpace the rate of beneficial mutations.

          The fact that mutational differences build up over time is also not contested in literature – and is in fact used as a clock to measure time since the MRCA. If you compare living individuals with the DNA obtained from ancient relatives, the mutation rate can actually be calculated in a direct manner – and it is similar to the mutation rates described above.

          Of course, you may ask, “So, why aren’t we in genetic meltdown right now? If detrimental mutations are building up so fast in our gene pool, why don’t they produce a more noticeable effect on survival and reproductive capacity?”

          The most obvious reason for this is that there was a great deal of redundancy originally built into our genome. A single hit to one of two or more genes that can do the same or a similar function does not immediately result in a meltdown in the functionality of the genome. In fact, by itself, such a detrimental mutation may not produce any detectable functional effect at all. Yet, it is still a detrimental mutation in that it reduces the original redundancy cushion and puts the genome closer to a true genetic meltdown of functionality.

          For example, say you have two genes that have the same functionality (Genes A and B). Let’s say that Gene A gets mutated so that it doesn’t work as well as it used to. However, the effect of this mutation is completely masked by the continued functionality of Gene B. A phenotypic functional effect will not be realized from the perspective of natural selection until Gene B is also mutated. At this point, the individual will realize a detectable loss of functionality… but not before.

          So, where does this put us. You can either reject the strong implications of the science currently in hand regarding the known detrimental mutation rate and the known per generation death rate that would be required to keep up with it, or you can go on blind faith that some solution to this problem may one day be found.

          Of course, the notion that a solution may one day be found isn’t currently testable in a falsifiable manner. Therefore, this notion of yours simply isn’t scientific. And, neither is your suggestion that this “statistical problem” isn’t of any valid concern or that a valid solution is currently known. None of that is true. There is no currently known solution to this problem… and you know it. You’ve even admitted it! which in itself is quite amazing.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  28. BobRyan: I am more than happy to agree with the house illustration because in that case you have creators “creating”

    Well, that is fine. As I have said previously, I am not arguing for or against the activity of a creator, only that the principles of evolution are generalisable.
    Specifically, that by whatever mechanism, there is a drive for increased diversity, variability, entropy, what ever you want to call it, countered by natural selection i.e. a drive to narrow diversity, variability, or entropy etc.

    In the case of the evolution of houses, if we can by analogy put the architects in the place of god for a moment, you would be a theistic evolutionist, because you believe that intelligence is a driving force; and I think most people would agree with you.




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    • @Ron:

      But most people would not agree with you that intelligence is the driving force for random mutations that are responsible for diseases like various forms of cancers, childhood leukemia, Down Syndrome, cystic fibrosis, etc.

      The notion that intelligent design was responsible for these forms of “change over time” removes one’s ability to detect the difference between what is apparently random and non-directed from that which obviously requires the input of human level intelligence or beyond…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  29. pauluc:
    What is clear to me is that the logic of Sanford argument is back to front in 2 ways

    1] There has never been a published observation that human populations are in genetic meltdown in a freeliving population of sufficient size.

    Interesting – however since in the actual Video Sanford says 1:20:40 “I am not ready to say that we are undergoing mutational meltdown” – how is it you bring this particular point of agreement between your position and Sanford’s as a problem for Sanford?

    Or are you claiming that your own logic is “back to front” on this and that since Sanford agrees with you on this point – his must be as well?

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  30. Ron: In the case of the evolution of houses, if we can by analogy put the architects in the place of god for a moment, you would be a theistic evolutionist, because you believe that intelligence is a driving force; and I think most people would agree with you.

    In the case of “Intelligence as the driving force for change” you do not end up with Theistic Evolutionism so long as that resulting ‘change’ takes place in a real 7 day week that equates to “SIX days shall YOU labor…for in SIX days God MADE…”.

    The only way to get that “intelligence as the driving force for change” to be a T.E. argument is to completely ignore the direct Bible statements on the timeline.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  31. BobRyan: When we talk about entropy – we are discussing the physical characteristics of the medium for storage, transmission and translation itself.

    Yes, I agree. And if you consider the analogy I gave regarding the information contained in the book, you will see that there is also, something resembling entropy in that over the years much information re: the book is lost, while other information persists, or is changed. There is a sifting process with some information lost, some saved.

    To draw an analogy between the publishing and biologic realms, the destruction of the book would be analogous to loss of the intermediary species. The hand written version would be the common ancestor which no longer exists due to entropy, so now we only have a published print version (great apes?) and an electronic version (Humanoids?). As you have noted, even the print versions and the electronic versions are undergoing entropy, so if the information is to continue there will need to be either continued evolution, or creative intervention of some sort.

    The fact that ID was involved in the original creation, and that ID is required to rescue the book in the end, does not imply there is no evolutionary process in the middle between the two extremes.

    A theistic evolutionist would assert that ID is also involved in the evolutionary intermediate stages as well. So I come again to my assertion that there is no inherent conflict between evolution and intelligent design. They can both have a hand in the process.




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    • @Ron:

      How can you tell the difference between a truly random mindless process and one that requires the input of ID?

      It seems to me that you cannot tell the difference as anything and everything, according to you, requires the involvement of intelligent design. Not even theistic evolutionists believe that. You can’t tell the difference between an amorphous rock and a highly symmetrical polished granite cube. As far as you’re concerned, they both required intelligent design – right? Everything is deliberately designed, from the car in your garage to the tornadoes that ravaged the southern US this year. It was all deliberately designed – right?

      Certainly none of my theistic friends would take on your position that God is directly responsible for all forms of genetic mutations and the evils that result from genetically-based diseases and syndromes that have plagued humans throughout recorded history…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  32. pauluc: 2] People like Sanford and Vieth with some scientific credentials, erroneously I think, claim science as the basis for their beliefs. Both became Christians and then became literal creationists not the other way round. I have yet to be shown any example of a scientist who starts with the scientific evidence without a religious bias and comes to recent creationism. It (a religious belief in literal creationism) is always projected back onto the science from a faith position and ends up with a cherry-picked version of the science

    In both cases – both scientists admit to the damage that evolutionism did to their faith – (just like Dawkins, Provine and Meyers). And in both cases the collapse of the evolutionary model – lead to their embrace of literal creationism.

    Both men supposed they could make T.E work — at least for a while. But apparently – as Darwin himself noted – they saw the self-conflicted nature of that idea.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  33. pauluc: Finally Ron I appreciate your argument for reason and for Faith but I expect all your fine efforts will be blown away like the autumn leaves in the face of the wintery breath of angry adventism.

    Paul, you may be right, but at least I will not feel like I let it happen in silence. And, in fact, this exercise is helping me explore my own beliefs as well. When I first started this conversation, I was pretty much a YEC with a few questions about the evidence and I was arguing mostly to test the strength of the arguments. I am afraid that Bob, Sean, et.al. have inadvertently convinced me of theistic evolution. I am still hoping they won’t ultimately convince me of atheism. (Tongue in cheek).




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  34. Back to the single book example. My argument for entropy is at the level of physics – the fact that the medium of storage decays over time as it moves toward equilibrium.

    The consequence of that physical fact is damage/loss of the information stored, transmitted, read-from that physical form.

    BobRyan:: When we talk about entropy – we are discussing the physical characteristics of the medium for storage, transmission and translation itself.

    Sanford addressed the physics of that degradation of information at the biochemical level as follows in the video

    16:36 – mutations – errors in DNA code.. molecular mistakes

    17:00 – genetic “ mutations are literally a product of physical entropy in the way that a physicist or chemist would speak of it”.

    Ron your response ignores the physical entropy problem in the storage of a single book or in the case of a single chromosome. You are dealing with the propagation of species and “whole subjects” (in the case of books) over time regardless of the physical state of individual cases.

    Ron:

    Yes, I agree. And if you consider the analogy I gave regarding the information contained in the book, you will see that there is also, something resembling entropy in that over the years much information re: the book is lost, while other information persists, or is changed. There is a sifting process with some information lost, some saved.

    Since you are no longer talking about the individual book – but about how it goes through revision or is transferred to a different physical medium by intelligent creators – we are no longer in the realm of any form of entropy. It is more a study of knowledge base over time. However that is confined to intelligent beings as the substrate. It is a guided, directed process with a goal in mind – set by the creators, innovators themselves.

    Ron:

    To draw an analogy between the publishing and biologic realms, the destruction of the book would be analogous to loss of the intermediary species.

    That “loss of species” idea would be analogous to the loss of all extant copies of that book and the end of all efforts to reproduce the book – not just the subject of a single book undergoing the physics of decay (progress toward physical equilibrium with the surroundings).

    Ron:
    The hand written version would be the common ancestor which no longer exists due to entropy, so now we only have a published print version (great apes?) and an electronic version (Humanoids?).

    You do not have the same information in great apes as you have in Humans.

    Hand written vs electronic versions of the book is merely the same information stored and transmitted through a different physical medium.

    It would be like a 2D video ape – vs a 3D video of that ape if you are only looking at one single trait of the ape (appearance) – that can be manifest in multiple physical forms. It is still ape – but the form used to represent it – changes.

    Evolution would need to take the subject of the book (cosmology) and then posit advancements in knowledge as “Change over time”.

    However the ability of creators to advance their own knowledge base has I.D. at every step — no random words being added to the text to advance knowledge of Cosmology over time. No sorting through random additions of words to the text and then “selecting” out the best fit set of random words to later “amplify”.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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    • @BobRyan:
      I’m sorry Bob. I am probably not smart enough to follow your reasoning. People/books die every day. Almost every species that has ever been has gone extinct, some would say that hundreds or thousands go extinct every year, and yet somehow life has not gone extinct. If the natural history of our solar system goes as predicted, there will come a time when every life form on earth will go extinct when the earth is swallowed by an expanding sun. So what? We still see evolution happening today. For whatever small spot of time we have on this earth, we still see the principles of increasing variability constrained by natural selection operative today. There have been mass extinctions in the past. There will certainly be mass extinctions in the future. It is totally irrelevant to the issue of whether evolution is valid.




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      • @Ron:

        Again, you fail to qualify what you mean by “evolution”. What we see every day is some form of “change over time” to be sure. But what form of evolution do we actually see? The most common forms of evolution or change over time are the result of a loss of genetic information. Novel gains in functionally beneficial mutations are relatively rare and are never seen producing anything beyond very low levels of functional biological complexity (i.e., nothing that requires at least 1000 specifically arranged residues has ever been observed to evolve).

        On top of this, slowly reproducing creatures are sustaining detrimental mutations far outpacing positive mutations by at least 1000/1 (and some suggest over a million to 1)… at a rate of dozens of detrimental mutations per person per generation. The reproductive rate necessary to allow natural selection to cull this number of detrimental mutations from the gene pool far outpaces the human ability to reproduce.

        You are simply ignoring the key problem being presented by those like Sanford. You simply assume, on blind faith it seems, that neo-Darwinism must be true anyway… despite such evidence.

        Anyway, I really don’t think you’re grasping the implications of what has been presented here. You certainly don’t seem willing to directly address the relevant data.

        Sean Pitman
        http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  35. Sean Pitman: Your position seems to me to make God out to be a monster far more evil and sinister than Hitler ever dreamed of being…

    Actually, I think it is the standard interpretation of the Bible that makes God out to be worse than Hitler. I came from an abusive background, and as far as I can tell the Bible was written primarily by abusers for abusers, and the standard gospel interpretation meets the spiritual needs of abusers. I have had to go back through the Bible again and re-interpret it for myself to make sense out of it in a way that is helpful to victims of abuse. I don’t want to get into that now, because it is way off topic. If someone wants to talk to me privately, send Sean your e-mail address, and he can send it to me.




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    • @Ron:

      So, you really believe that it is God who creates all genetically-based diseases in humans? it is God who directly causes leukemia in children, Down Syndrome, sickle cell anemia, mutations that result in a host of cancers of all types (lung, colon, breast, ovarian, brain, etc), familial polyposis, cystic fibrosis, and on and on and on? God directly creates all of this extreme suffering and evil that you and I, as doctors, are struggling to prevent or at least treat in our patients? Really?

      And you want to actually serve such a God? How can you possibly love someone who actually intends to cause such pain and suffering to the people you love?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  36. Holly Pham: Your question of “how” can God allow suffering has been well addressed by numerous theologians. It is also addresse in the Bible. Do you not accept the answers? If not, what is your answer to your question?

    No, I do accept their answers, and I have a few that are unique to me. My only point is that it is leading us off topic. So I didn’t want to go off on a tangent.




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  37. BobRyan: However the ability of creators to advance their own knowledge base has I.D. at every step — no random words being added to the text to advance knowledge of Cosmology over time. No sorting through random additions of words to the text and then “selecting” out the best fit set of random words to later “amplify”

    Bob, I agree with you 100%. The process happens 100% by Intelligent Design, and yet if you look at it carefully, it still reveals the fingerprint of an evolutionary process. And that is my point. Even a process that is 100% driven by ID, follows the laws of evolution.




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  38. pauluc: 2] People like Sanford and Vieth with some scientific credentials, erroneously I think, claim science as the basis for their beliefs. Both became Christians and then became literal creationists not the other way round. I have yet to be shown any example of a scientist who starts with the scientific evidence without a religious bias and comes to recent creationism.

    You are making the case for atheism.

    If you were T.E. — then “you should be arguing” that both men turned from atheist evolutionism to T.E when they became Christians (at least for a while) and then inexplicably accepted Bible Creationism even though nothing in the Bible or Christianity suggests that they would think to do so.

    Instead of that you unwittingly argue against Christianity itself as if the embrace of dirty rotten Bible Creationism is only because they left the true blue faith of atheism and turned to Christianity.

    In so doing you self-conflictedly argue that Christianity requires acceptance of Bible creationism – even for atheist biologists who turn to Christianity!

    In Veith’s case when he comes upon the glaringly obvious fact that evolutionism is blind faith junk science – he immediately presents the science to his faculty and graduate students at his university in an open session highlighting point after point where evolutionism does not work.

    Near the end of his talk – one of the graduate students spoke up in tears saying “I came to this university as a Christian and you people convinced me that evolution was certain fact and caused me to give up my Christianity – now I am finding out that you were not telling the truth!”.

    So much for the wild claims of “I only reject evolutionism because of my faith”.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  39. Sean Pitman: Again, you fail to qualify what you mean by “evolution”.

    By Evolution, I am talking about a two part pattern of development first described by Darwin, i.e. increases in variability constrained by natural selection. My point is that these are natural laws that are generalizable to pretty much everything in the universe including the process of intelligent design and therefore there is no inherent philosophical reason that the process of evolution is incompatible with Intelligent Design.

    Here is another example in the spiritual realm, right out of the Bible, involving God himself.

    God created Adam and Eve, they had children, and the variation in humanity increased to at least 3 spiritual classes of humans. The son’s of god, the son’s of men, and the hybrids.
    (We have met criteria 1 for the process of evolution, an increase in variation.)

    Step 2. God imposes a very severe selection bias at the flood based on spirituality such that only a single family of the son’s of God survive. (Survival of the fittest in the spiritual dimension, imposed by Intelligent Design.)

    In the early patriarchal period the pattern is repeated. Job the righteous man is protected and saved by God. All the rest of his children and servants who were less righteous were destroyed.

    God repeats the pattern in Sodom and Gomorrah. The righteous, Lot, is saved, the others destroyed.

    God repeats the pattern again with Abraham. Between the flood and the time of Abraham, there has been an increase in the variability of human spirituality, so God imposes another selection bias, this time in the form of blessing instead of destruction. He picks Abraham, the smallest and weakest of clans according to Moses. The selection bias imposed by God’s blessing results in Abraham having children like the stars of the sky. In fact the selection bias is so strong that Jews continue to prosper to this day in-spite of millenia of persecution.

    We see God using an evolutionary process through out the history of Israel, from the patriarchs all the way through the history of the kingdom, with his instructions to Israel for a complete genocide of the the unrighteous heathen in the land, with his blessing creating a selection bias.

    We see God using an evolutionary process again, with the rejection of the Jews, and the beginning of the Christian church. It starts out small, but God favors it and it grows and diversifies into the multitude of Christian denominations we see today, and if Mrs. White’s interpretation of the prophecies is correct, we can expect to see another selection event very soon as the result of the investigative Judgement.

    This seems so patently obvious to me. Why is it so hard to grasp? God uses evolutionary processes in the spiritual realm, why wouldn’t he use them in the physical realm? If what Mrs. White says is true, that the physical realm is a reflection of the character of God in the spiritual realm, wouldn’t we expect to see evolution operating in the physical realm as well?




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    • @Ron:

      Darwin wasn’t talking about intelligence-driven changes over time. He was talking about a mindless naturalistic mechanism.

      Also, we have no problem with changes over time that produce increased variability as long as the changes result in a reduced level of functional complexity of the gene pool.

      The problem with neo-Darwinism is over the idea of increasing functional complexity without the involvement of intelligent design. That’s the main issue in play here. Without intelligence, systems degrade over time – to include biological systems where the reproductive rate isn’t remotely fast enough to keep up with the rate of detrimental mutations entering the gene pool in each generation.

      You’re not addressing the particular type of evolution that is being challenged here. You can’t simply say, “evolution happens” and expect your examples of devolution or stepwise improvements via intelligent design (i.e., intelligence-driven “evolution”) to be meaningful to the current conversation.

      We are talking about the limits to creative potential for a particular type of evolution – a type of evolution that uses only mindless mechanisms to creative higher and higher levels of functional/meaningful biological information. That’s the only type of evolution in question here.

      I’m sure you understand this. So, why do you continue to argue about forms of change over time, such as those that require intelligence, which do not address the type of evolution being challenged here? I fail to see how your arguments are at all relevant?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @Sean Pitman:
        “Darwin wasn’t talking about intelligence-driven changes over time. He was talking about a mindless naturalistic mechanism.”

        Maybe so, but Darwin lived 150 years ago. It would be another hundred years before we would even discover DNA. I don’t think we have limit ourselves to what Darwin thought. We can take the best of what he discovered and leave the rest.

        Besides, as I have heard the story, Darwin held off publishing for a long time because he was concerned about it’s potential effect on religion. I don’t think it was Darwin so much as others around him that started the war with religion. I think if Darwin could have seen things from our perspective today he would have breathed a sigh of relief an perhaps remained a believer.




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        • @Ron:

          It wasn’t just Darwin who lived 150 years ago who believed the mindless natural mechanisms were responsible for the origin of life and its diversity. This is still the foundational premise of neo-Darwinism today.

          Such a hypothesis has very clear implications that Darwin himself understood perfectly well. William Provine, late professor of biological sciences at Cornell University, gave a very interesting speech for a 1998 Darwin Day keynote address. As part of this speech he explained:

          Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly.

          • No gods worth having exist;
          • No life after death exists;
          • No ultimate foundation for ethics exists;
          • No ultimate meaning in life exists; and
          • Human free will is nonexistent.

          Provine, William B. [Professor of Biological Sciences, Cornell University], “Evolution: Free will and punishment and meaning in life”, Abstract of Will Provine’s 1998 Darwin Day Keynote Address.

          Provine also wrote, “In other words, religion is compatible with modern evolutionary biology (and indeed all of modern science) if the religion is effectively indistinguishable from atheism.”

          Academe January 1987, pp.51-52

          Your suggestion, therefore, that if Darwin had lived today that he would have been relieved to find out that it was really God driving evolutionary processes is nonsense. One of the primary reasons Darwin rejected the idea of God being involved is because of the inherent evil evident in nature – in the “survival of the fittest”. Darwin was very upset by the idea of God deliberately creating the creatures that would eat each other and cause untold suffering and death in this world. He could not reconcile this observation with the idea of a loving Creator-God.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @Sean Pitman:
        “We are talking about the limits to creative potential for a particular type of evolution – a type of evolution that uses only mindless mechanisms to creative higher and higher levels of functional/meaningful biological information. That’s the only type of evolution in question here.”

        Well, It seems to me that you are denying ALL evolution, and that this web site was set up to agitate for the firing of some very dedicated biology teachers at La Sierra.

        I am not convinced that there is any evolution that uses only “mindless” mechanisms. At least not any mechanisms that weren’t created by God in the first place and aren’t being supervised by him.

        I see clearly, all around me that evolution is in progress. I think maybe what we term evolution is just God’s ongoing activity as a creator. It is part of God’s nature to create. Why do you think we shouldn’t find evidence of that in nature?

        I think both sides of the creation/evolution debate are extremely narrow minded, and your attacks on the church, are extremely destructive. I am trying to call you, and others in the church to calm down and rethink the whole issue, perhaps from a little larger perspective. Instead of using this controversy to destroy the church, we could be using it to deepen our understanding of God and to strengthen our community.




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        • @Ron:

          Well, It seems to me that you are denying ALL evolution, and that this web site was set up to agitate for the firing of some very dedicated biology teachers at La Sierra.

          How can you conclude that I deny all forms of evolution when I’ve specifically explained to you, many times now, that Darwinian-style evolution does indeed happen? quite commonly in fact?

          There are many different forms of biological “change over time” that are real and can be directly observed. The only issue in play here is over the neo-Darwinian concept that supposes that intelligence is not required to explain uphill evolution beyond very low levels of functional complexity.

          This is what the LSU professors have been and are teaching… contrary to the SDA position on origins.

          I am not convinced that there is any evolution that uses only “mindless” mechanisms. At least not any mechanisms that weren’t created by God in the first place and aren’t being supervised by him.

          The problem is that you cannot support this assertion with a testable hypothesis. You cannot demonstrate the difference between a mindless natural mechanism and one that is directed by God-like intelligence. In other words, your argument is the same as someone saying, “I believe that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is the one making evolution happen.” It simply isn’t a testable or potentially falsifiable statement. It is therefore meaningless to any rational discussion of origins.

          I see clearly, all around me that evolution is in progress. I think maybe what we term evolution is just God’s ongoing activity as a creator. It is part of God’s nature to create. Why do you think we shouldn’t find evidence of that in nature?

          You only see certain limited forms of evolution in progress. You’ve never seen evolution, via RM/NS, beyond very very low levels of functional complexity. There isn’t a single example of it in all of literature. That’s the problem here. Evidently, God is limiting himself to creating only very very simple biological changes over time. Why not see any creativity beyond these very very low levels of functional complexity if your notion about God’s ongoing creativity with the biology of our planet is in fact correct?

          You simply have no evidence to support your position. Why then should the church expand its position to include that of someone with no rational basis behind theirs? – one which also undermines the fundamental view of God’s very nature and character as historically upheld by Seventh-day Adventists?

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  40. Sean Pitman: And you want to actually serve such a God? How can you possibly love someone who actually intends to cause such pain and suffering to the people you love?

    Yes. That is the question, Why evil? isn’t it? If you would like to start a different blog specifically for that issue, I would be happy to discuss it further.




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  41. Ron: Actually, I think it is the standard interpretation of the Bible that makes God out to be worse than Hitler.I came from an abusive background, and as far as I can tell the Bible was written primarily by abusers for abusers, and the standard gospel interpretation meets the spiritual needs of abusers.I have had to go back through the Bible again and re-interpret it for myself to make sense out of it in a way that is helpful to victims of abuse.I don’t want to get into that now, because it is way off topic.If someone wants to talk to me privately, send Sean your e-mail address, and he can send it to me.

    Please explain what you mean by the Bible was written “by abusers for abusers.” I’ve never heard of that before. I don’t think it is “off topic” at all.




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    • @Holly Pham: There are many problems with the Bible story, I am sure you won’t like my perspective. Please try to be patient and reserve judgement until you get to the end though. You might find that it isn’t quite as bad as it first seems.

      Justice: The penalty of death for Eve and all her off spring violates the principle of proportional punishment. If a parent exacted such a harsh penalty on a child, they would be prosecuted for murder.

      Equality of Justice: Eve got the death penalty for stealing an apple, while Cain only got banishment, in fact, God even protected him from revenge. That basically says that God values a piece of fruit higher than the life of a man.

      Then there is the way God wants to be worshiped: By killing innocent animals. Really? What does that say about God? What kind of a ruler would want to be worshiped that way? (Don’t lecture me on what Mrs. White says about it. I already know. Her explanation doesn’t work for me.)

      Then there is the story of Job. God was an accomplice to the murder of Job’s children and servants, and he doesn’t even have the courtesy to tell Job why.

      Then there is God killing the whole world in a flood. Lot’s wife is killed just for mourning the loss of her home, and letting her curiosity get the best of her.
      The God has a man executed for picking up sticks on the Sabbath, and kills a priest trying to protect the ark. By today’s standard, commanding Israel to commit genocide is a crime against humanity.

      God punished David for the murder of Uriah by killing an innocent child?

      Then, there is Paul’s theology. Basically, God hates you so much that he won’t accept you unless Jesus compels him to accept you by dying on the cross. Even then, you better watch out. You slip up too much, and you are outta there no matter what Christ does.

      Lets not forget where Paul’s theology comes from. What was he thinking when he stood there holding the coats of the men stoning Steven? Or while he was murdering the Christians?

      God can’t forgive without killing something? Where does that come from? No body I know requires the death of anything before they forgive, certainly not over something as minor as stealing a piece of fruit. Forget about Christians, it seems to me that even secular people today are more just and forgiving than the God presented in at least the OT.

      Holly, Why were Adam and Eve afraid of God?

      It must be because they thought God would be abusive toward them. You don’t run away from someone unless you believe they are a threat.

      If they had not thought of God as an abuser, then a more appropriate response to God when he called for them, would have been to walk up to God and say,

      “Hey! Glad you are back. By the way, I loved the fruit from the tree of the KOGAE”

      “You ate of it?”

      “Why yes, of course.”

      “Why did you do that. I told you not to or you would die.”

      “Hmmm, Well, I don’t know what death is, but I have been thinking. You have been so good to us. I love you. And after thinking about it I decided that I want to be like you. The snake told me that if I would eat from the tree of the KOGAE, that I would become just like you. After eating from the tree the snake got smarter, and prettier, and it could even talk. I figured that if death could do all that for the snake, it must be wonderful. Imagine what it could do for me! For awhile I felt fabulous, like I was entering a new spiritual dimension, but now I don’t feel so good. What happened? I want to die too and know the difference between Good and Evil just like you. Tell me about good and evil. What is evil?”

      You see, if Adam and Eve had had a different attitude about God, then God’s response would have been different because the problem would have been different.

      Think about it. Death is NOT necessary to forgive. God forgave the 1/3 of the angels that originally sided with Satan and then repented, without having to kill anything. You forgive your children, God only knows how many times, for crimes far more serious that stealing a cookie off the counter without demanding the death penalty.

      The only appropriate reason for Christ to die, is to prove that God would rather die passively than to assert himself against human freedom and justice. To prove that man does not have to be afraid.

      As for abusers, Moses was obviously a severe abuser having grown up in his childhood as a slave, then in the royal palace served by a whole nation of slaves. We see his abusive mind set in numerous incidents. We see it in the way he killed the overseer. Then again, the way he gave up and ran away into the wilderness. Someone without an abusive personality would not have killed the Egyptian, and certainly would not have given up and runaway. There is the way he felt he had to be in charge of everything in the camp, and couldn’t see that he needed to let go of some authority, until his F-I-L Jethro came to visit. Then he got angry an destroyed the tablets that God gave. He had no right to do that! Only an abuser would do something like that. Then again when he got angry and struck the rock. That is clearly the action of an abuser. Someone without an abusive mind set would never have gotten angry, and certainly wouldn’t have put himself on a par with God. I think the reason God had to punish Moses so severely is that Moses gave the Israel such a wrong picture of God as being harsh, dictatorial, and perfectionistic, that God couldn’t let it stand. It is that seed, planted by Moses, that grew into the tedious perfectionism about the law that ultimately caused the Jews to reject Jesus.

      Abraham was a horrible criminal by today’s standards. Incestuously marrying his half sister, the wandering all over the country trespassing on other peoples property claiming it belonged to his children. He even perjured himself to the king of Egypt.

      Abraham was also a child abuser and believed that God could somehow be OK with child sacrifice. Can you imagine what would happen to Abraham if that story happened today? The thought of what it must have been like for Isaac gave me nightmares as a kid. It still does if I really stop to think about it.
      Imagine the conversation with today’s child protective agent.

      “Why did you kill your son?”
      “Because God woke me up in the middle of the night and told me to”

      Isaac would be taken away immediately and Abraham would be diagnosed as psychotic and taken the the mental health prison until he became sane enough to put on trial.

      If you think about what is going on there, you could imagine that God was testing to see what is the spiritual issue in humanity that needs to be addressed. Abraham’s tacit acceptance of the assignment proves that he thought that God was so abusive that it was appropriate for God to ask it of him.

      I think God’s request of Abraham was the answer to Christ’s prayer in the garden, “If it be your will, let this cup be taken away.” Whether the death of Christ is an appropriate remedy for sin depends on what the issue is. If the issue had been different then a different remedy would be appropriate and Christ’s prayer could have been answered differently.

      The fact that Abraham accepted the test, proves that humanity still considered God to be abusive. So, God couldn’t change the plan and answer Jesus prayer positively.

      If Abraham had answered God, “Hell no, I am not going to take my son to be a sacrifice! That is abusive, and the God I worship would never ask such a thing.” Then that would have demonstrated that the problem in the fall of humanity was something different than fear of abuse, and God could have given Christ a different solution. It is man’s perception of God as an abuser that required Christ’s death on the cross. In a very real sense Abraham signed Christ’s death warrant because Abraham demonstrated that he thought killing something would atone for sin and make God happy.

      I know this seems terrible to you, but this is the way I hear the usual gospel story. Don’t worry about me though, I have answers to these questions that work for me, so I am OK with this.

      Part of an answer that might help this discussion, is that I have learned to see the Bible as a history about man and man’s spirituality, more than as a description of God. So, it doesn’t really bother me so much than Abraham had a horrible concept of God. It doesn’t mean that that is a true picture of God. It only means that that was Abraham’s understanding, and that Abraham had the best understanding of all the humans in his day. Since Christ, we know better now. We will know even better in the future.

      So, to Sean,
      Yes, I am OK with a God who at least allows all of those diseases, if not outright causes them. I value life so highly, that to me, even the shortest, sad and most misshapen life is wonderfully valuable, and I am thankful to God for life, whatever it brings. Because whatever it brings, God is right there with me. In fact, through the H.S. living in me we are closer than would ever have been possible if Eve had not started the experiment. We are living it together, and together we are learning the difference between good and evil, and the more I learn, the more I become like Him.

      Also, one of the things I have learned is that, except for the trees, everything that was in the Garden is still here. It would be a shame to spend so much time grieving the presence of evil, that you fail to notice the good. I used to live in hell, but now I chose to live in Eden. And I am not afraid of having bad theology. If it turns out that the Atheist is right, and my experience after my death is the same as it was before I was born, then I am OK with that. And I won’t feel cheated, because I am not waiting for some future heaven. I am living in an earth made new with Jesus right now.




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      • @Ron:

        Yes, I am OK with a God who at least allows all of those diseases, if not outright causes them. I value life so highly, that to me, even the shortest, sad and most misshapen life is wonderfully valuable, and I am thankful to God for life, whatever it brings.

        There’s a very big difference between allowing evil to happen due to the freewill of those who are in rebellion against God’s will vs. a situation where God deliberately causes the suffering and death of the innocent to begin with – as a deliberate method of creating life on this planet.

        How could you worship a God whom you thought used a mechanism that caused untold suffering and death to endless numbers of sentient creatures over billions of years? who deliberately and very directly tortured innocent animals and humans to death? who has no problem torturing you to death without batting an eye? Who feels no pain when you feel pain? Who doesn’t care one lick when a little sparrow falls wounded to the ground? After all, that’s just the nature of things He originally designed as part of His creative process – right?

        Sean Pitman
        http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  42. I have noted when one cannot rationally answer a question, when logic demands an answer one doesn’t want to agree with, attacks are often made as to the credentials of the one pointing out an unpleasant truth. If that fails, then appeals are made to the background of the person – again ignoring both evidence and logic. A.E. Wilder-Smith (now available on YouTube) tho always a Christian presents a systematic logical case without any appeal to religous faith that has convinced many an atheist. So more recently has Dr. Ben Carson. I dont discount Darwin and many other early evolutionists because they were not trained in science. I reject them based on what they said and what the evidence shows.




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  43. Dr. Richard Lumsden, graduated from Harvard, was professor of parasitology and cell biology at Tulane University. Rabid evolutionist atheist to non-evolutionist to Christian. You can hear his account on You Tube: Ph.D. Turns from Atheism to Christ




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  44. Pingback: Dr. John Sanford Lectures on Inevitable Genomic Deterioration, by Sean Pitman « adventlife

  45. Ron: BobRyan: However the ability of creators to advance their own knowledge base has I.D. at every step — no random words being added to the text to advance knowledge of Cosmology over time. No sorting through random additions of words to the text and then “selecting” out the best fit set of random words to later “amplify”

    Note that naturalism’s version of biological evolutionism is stuck at the level of RM/NS – “random walk”. Not the mechanism of ” a Creators Creating”

    Ron:
    Bob, I agree with you 100%. The process happens 100% by Intelligent Design, and yet if you look at it carefully, it still reveals the fingerprint of an evolutionary process. And that is my point. Even a process that is 100% driven by ID, follows the laws of evolution.

    Certainly you are right to think that God making things happen according to His Plan – is more the model of a creationist than today’s evolutionists.

    However – in the Bible God decided not to leave the “timeline” up to our guesswork. Instead He tells us flat out “SIX days you shall labor…for in SIX DAYS the Lord made…”.

    And as I recall – you admitted that the text of Ex 20 is intended just as it so obviously reads. Which is a huge problem for the T.E. that wishes to claim Christianity as his frame of reference while hoping to hold on to the Bible as the Word of God.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  46. -Shining: I have noted when one cannot rationally answer a question, when logic demands an answer one doesn’t want to agree with, attacks are often made as to the credentials of the one pointing out an unpleasant truth

    I have a phrase for that symptom of evolutionism “when their logic fails their ad hominem assails ”

    in Christ,

    Bob




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    • @Paul Giem:
      “You may be busy, as am I. Did you note my reply to your ground rules? Can we agree?”

      Things are hard to find in these long posts so I am not sure which entry you are referring to, but I think I probably saw it and agreed. I wish there was a way to separate the threads into easier to manage chunks.

      I wonder if we started in a date, and then use the reply button rather than the quote, if it would put all of one thread under the start date? We would have to remember what date the conversation started on and go back to it.




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  47. BobRyan

    “You are making the case for atheism.”

    If you were T.E. — then “you should be arguing” that both men turned from atheist evolutionism to T.E when they became Christians (at least for a while) and then inexplicably accepted Bible Creationism even though nothing in the Bible or Christianity suggests that they would think to do so.

    Instead of that you unwittingly argue against Christianity itself as if the embrace of dirty rotten Bible Creationism is only because they left the true blue faith of atheism and turned to Christianity.

    In so doing you self-conflictedly argue that Christianity requires acceptance of Bible creationism – even for atheist biologists who turn to Christianity!”

    Sorry but your logic is way beyond my ken and completely impenetrable to me. With a degree in physical sciences, a previous CTO of a fortune 500 company and with 2 sons doing engineering you are clearly credentialed to speak with authority on biology.

    As I have reiterated repeatedly I am just a simple clinician and scientist who happens to both publish in the peer reviewed literature and like almost all scientists accept the basic tennant of naturalism as the basis for science, (that restricted part of knowledge devoted to understanding the physical universe). The same naturalism that is the basis of modern evidence based medicine as practiced by most physicians inside and outside the church. I also happen to be a Christian because of my faith in the revelation of God in Jesus Christ. A revelation that is based on faith alone as Romans 1:16-17 makes clear. I accept the anthropic principle but do not see anything in nature beyond that as a scientific basis for faith or a revelation of God. I accept Jesus as God by faith and not on the basis of scientific demonstration, to pretend otherwise for me is to be dishonest with the evidence.

    Shining
    Thank you for the examples. I am not questioning that people are converted to Christianity from atheism what I am questioning is the premise that this conversion is based only on objective scientific evidence. If that were so then there should be abundant evidence for literal creationism in the scientific literature and the relevant people should have published on this topic. There is not and they have not and the GRI appears to at least accept this position. But that does not stop me accepting by faith God as revealed in Jesus or a doctrine of creation.

    In terms of credentials I would not be so harsh on those who would attempt to classify the quality of information based on the qualifications and the track record of the source. Scientific ideas are not presented for peer review in the LA times, or in the blogosphere in facebook or youtube but in the peer reviewed literature. Science is very harsh and it is indeed publish or perish. Your academic standing, grant funding and advancement is unquestionably on the basis of measures of impact such as Hirch index and citations for papers in the peer reviewed literature. There is no free pass and any person claiming to be a scientist will be judged by his peers on such criteria. I suspect you do the same in choosing your health care provider. Do you get your health advice and prescriptions from a man claiming to have an MD and living in fridgebox downtown or perhaps look for someone at least with verifiable credentials to speak with some expertise on medicine.

    Apropos of your comments on Darwin I am interested to know if you disagree with his work on Barnacles, his work on pidgeons or his classification of specimens collected on his voyage on the Beagle or perhaps his conclusion from this substantial body of work that species arise by a natural process of selection from natural variation? I am interested to know if you indeed have the necessary background to give a reasoned critique of his significant body of work presented in publications and before the Royal society or are you simply repeating what you heard and knocking down a strawman as a mere reflector of other mens ideas.




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    • As for the matter of publishing, it does happen at times but it is very difficult to get into those mags that consider anyone who believes in ID (to say nothing of being a 6 day creationist) lacking in mental health. Another issue is that some who see the validity of a ID or Creationist paper are afraid for their own reputation and job. Evolutionists rarely will debate the best and brightest creation apologists, some like Eugenie Scott even admit that they do not do well in open discussion. Listen to A.E. Wilder-Smith’s talks if you want to honestly hear a highly qualified man speak in defense of creation. Grit your teeth and click on You Tube. Listen to what he has to say. But I must warn you, his talks have lost many a scientist to the atheist/evolution cause. If you just can’t stomach You Tube go to Richard Dawkins’ web site and listen to the debate they were once both a part of at Oxford. The peer-reviewed literature that you hold so much store by, reported Creationists with only 15 votes, Dawkins lists it at 115 and if you listen carefully on the tapes it sounds to me like 150/169 but I am willing to take Dawkins 115.




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  48. Sean

    You claim

    “There is no argument, in literature, that these mutations build up over time and that they far outpace the rate of beneficial mutations.”

    “The fact that mutational differences build up over time is also not contested. If you compare living individuals with the DNA obtained from ancient relatives, the mutation rate can actually be calculated in a direct manner – and it is similar to the mutation rates described above.”

    You can do better than that. If I wanted an opinion I would watch youtube. I have asked you for the basic data on which your whole edifice of genetic meltdown is constructed and you give me the bland statement above. You know the process as you have indeed published in the peer reviewed literature. Give me the evidence for

    1] There is a rate of accumulation of the detriment mutations that outstrips mechanisms for loss

    2] compare living individuals with the DNA obtained from ancient relatives, the mutation rate can actually be calculated in a direct manner

    Author? Title? Journal? Date? Volume? Page?

    I can take it from there and determine for myself if what you claim is true.

    Thanks




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    • @pauluc:

      You know the process as you have indeed published in the peer reviewed literature. Give me the evidence for
      1] There is a rate of accumulation of the detriment mutations that outstrips mechanisms for loss

      This is a calculated rate based on known overall mutation rates, the amount of functional DNA in the genome, the ratio of beneficial vs. detrimental mutations, and the known reproductive/death rate that would be required to compensate for the detrimental mutation rate.

      Overall mutation rate:
      A fairly recent paper in a 2010 issue of Science attempted a direct measurement of the mutation rate by comparing the complete genome sequences of two offspring and their parents. They estimate that each offspring had only 70 new mutations (instead of previously predicted rates of around 170) for an overall mutation rate of around 1.1 x 10^-8 per site per generation (Roach et al. 2010: Link). Another paper published in a 2010 issue of PNAS suggested an overall autosomal mutation rate of 1.481 × 10^−8 base substitutions per site per generation – or approximately 89 new mutations per person per generation (Lynch, 2009: Link). Unfortunately for men, a 2009 pedigree-based estimate derived from high-throughput sequencing of Y chromosomes (~58 million bp) separated by 13 generations (Xue et al. 2009: Link) yielded a much higher base-substitutional mutation rate estimate of 3.0 × 10^−8 base substitution rate for the Y-chromosome (~ 1.74 mutations per person, per Y-chromosome alone, per generation – comparable to a rate of ~180 autosomal mutations per person per generation).

      For purposes of discussion, let’s assume, then, an average per person, per generation, mutation rate of 70.

      Functional DNA in the Genome
      In the past five years or so, the discovery that non-coding DNA is largely functional, has pretty much destroyed the notion of “junk-DNA”. Previously, it was thought that no more than 1.5% of the human genome was functional. While less than 1.5% of the mammalian genome encodes proteins, it is now evident that the vast majority is transcribed (at least 70%), mainly into non-protein-coding RNAs. Many of the observed noncoding transcripts are differentially expressed, and, while most have not yet been studied, increasing numbers are being shown to be functional and/or trafficked to specific subcellular locations, as well as exhibit subtle evidence of selection. Even certain regions of non-transcribed DNA are now being shown to be functional. Of course, analyses of conservation patterns indicate that only∼5% (3%–8%) of the human genome is under purifying selection for functions common to mammals. However, these estimates rely on the assumption that reference sequences (usually ancient transposon-derived sequences) have evolved neutrally, which may not be the case, and if so would lead to an underestimate of the fraction of the genome under evolutionary constraint. These analyses also do not detect functional sequences that are evolving rapidly and/or have acquired lineage-specific functions. Indeed, many regulatory sequences and known functional noncoding RNAs, including many microRNAs, are not conserved over significant evolutionary distances, and recent evidence from the ENCODE project suggests that many functional elements show no detectable level of sequence constraint.

      In short, “It is possible that much if not most of the human genome may be functional.” (Pheasant and Mattick, 2007: Link)

      Implied functional mutation rate
      Given that most of the human genome is functional to one degree or another (let’s say 70%), this would imply a functional (non-neutral) mutation rate of 70 * 0.7 = ~50 functional mutations per person per generation.

      Ratio of beneficial vs. detrimental mutations
      There are numerous published estimates ranging from 1/1000 to 1/1,000,000. A 1998 paper published in Genetica suggests a beneficial mutation rate (vs. the total mutation rate) of approximately 1 in 1,000,000 (Gerrish and Lenski, 1998: Link). Given that a significant portion if not most of the human genome is functional to one degree or another, to a similar degree those mutations that are not beneficial would be functionally detrimental to one degree or another. In short, the ratio of beneficial vs. detrimental is very small – most likely well below the ratio of 1/1000.

      Detrimental mutation rate
      Given that the ratio of beneficial vs. detrimental mutations is so low (less than 1/1000), the detrimental mutation rate would be very similar to the overall functional mutation rate. In other words there would be ~50 detrimental mutations (to include mostly near-neutral detrimental mutations) per person per generation.

      Required reproductive/death rate to compensate for detrimental mutation rate
      The reduction in fitness (i.e., the genetic load) due to deleterious mutations with multiplicative effects is given by 1 – e^-U (Kimura and Moruyama, 1966). For a detrimental mutation rate (U) of just 3 mutations per person per generation, the average fitness is reduced to 2.71828183^-3 = 0.05. The number of offspring needed to maintain the population at the parental level of fitness would therefore be: 1 / 0.05 = 20 offspring per woman per generation for just one to survive without any detrimental mutations. This, of course, means that each woman would actually have to produce at least 40 offspring for two to survive without any detrimental mutations and maintain the population size. Of course, if the detrimental mutation rate were really more like 50 per person per generation, the number of offspring needed, per woman, to allow natural selection to deal with this degree of bad karma would be around 1/e^-50 * 2 = ~10 million trillion offspring per woman per generation.

      Now, you might argue that the actual detrimental mutation rate is much lower than this, but it is rather hard to believe, given what we’ve learned about the functionality of the non-coding elements of the genome lately, that the true detrimental mutation rate could be remotely within the reproductive range of what any woman could possibly achieve in her reproductive lifetime. We humans simply do not reproduce remotely fast enough to keep up with the minimum rate of detrimental mutations that hits our gene pool every generation.

      2] compare living individuals with the DNA obtained from ancient relatives, the mutation rate can actually be calculated in a direct manner
      Author? Title? Journal? Date? Volume? Page?

      How far back do you want to go? Are the pedigree studies noted already not good enough for you? Even divergent times based on evolutionary assumptions between different individuals and even different species are not significantly different from the mutation rates I’ve presented here to make much of a difference for your position… unless I’m really missing something obvious here?

      The point is that mutational divergence over time is ongoing and the detrimental mutation load cannot be not resolved by natural selection without a death rate that is far too high for any slowly reproducing creature to tolerate.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @Sean Pitman:

        Thanks Sean

        It now appears we actually agree on most of this.

        1] “The human genome/gene pool is not currently in functional “meltdown” mode.” totally agree there is no evidence for this.

        2] “What I said is that it is heading toward a meltdown” I agree if as Lynch discusses in his papers the standard selection pressures on human populations are removed by the environmental manipulations of first world technologies.

        3] “The point is that mutational divergence over time is ongoing.” Agree entirely otherwise where is the variation on which natural selection is to act and where are the change on which Kimura model of neutral selection is based.

        4] Mutations rate are less than 100 per generation Agree and it appears that I was wrong in suggesting you are unchanged by this dialog as you seem to have presented me again with the references I cited in July last year.

        5] “The fact that mutational differences build up over time is also not contested in literature – and is in fact used as a clock to measure time since the MRCA. If you compare living individuals with the DNA obtained from ancient relatives, the mutation rate can actually be calculated in a direct manner – and it is similar to the mutation rates described above.”

        Sean what is happening here why are you talking about most recent common ancestors are you now accepting that hominids have been here for more than 100,000 years or 1.5 million? As I have said before I accept the history of man written in the fossil record and the history of relatedness as written in the genomes of human populations and discovered by the process of comparative phylogeny. You have up to now accepted neither. You accept as does Sanford in his lecture an entirely religious proposition that the world is degrading over the last 6 thousand years. You assume a position in making your calculations that death is the only mechanism to remove detrimental changes and is required to compensate. I assume only the basic premises of science. That we are ignorant and have much much more to learn and that the physical world is best understood as natural process in just the same way as my medicine is predicated on the idea that evidence based medicine without recourse to miracles is the most utilitarian. At least from the your publications in medicine I assume you accept this for medicine. At least I am consistent in assuming the same premise for all of science.

        Is death really the only way? Are there mechanisms for removal of mutations in the germline during meitic division and cross over events? Are there gene conversion events that favour functional genes? Is there selection for specific gametes during gametogenesis or embryo selection for function that would slowly remove detrimental mutations?

        A study of the genetics of highly inbred populations such as cheetahs http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16124868 or Florida pather http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20929847 is illustrative.

        Both these populations have had extreme populations bottlenecks (not unlike what you must assume for a literal flood) and have homozygosity to the point of any random pair of cheetah accepting skin grafts from each other.
        They have a very high rate of fetal loss >40% and are highly susceptible to infectious diseases.

        You could clearly consider this a “genetic meltdown”. But surprisingly the introduction of new genes into the gene pool by introducing individuals from a geographically distant populations restores significant levels of fitness http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20929847

        According to your model of death as the only purifying selector the death rate would never have been able to do this and their doom is assured. As Galileo was purported to has said; “and yet they move”

        Real data trumps theory every time. Particularly when that theory is based on religous wishes and statistical conjecture rather than real observation and hypothesis testing.




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        • @pauluc:

          It now appears we actually agree on most of this.

          1] “The human genome/gene pool is not currently in functional “meltdown” mode.” totally agree there is no evidence for this.
          2] “What I said is that it is heading toward a meltdown”. I agree if as Lynch discusses in his papers the standard selection pressures on human populations are removed by the environmental manipulations of first world technologies.

          We would be heading toward a functional genetic meltdown regardless of if selection pressures are in play or not. The reason for this is that detrimental mutation rates are far too high to be compensated for even if selection pressures were maxed out. In other words, even if selection pressures were so strong that the maximum tolerable death rate were achieved in each generation, every single person in every generation would still have significantly more detrimental mutations than his/her parents had.

          3] “The point is that mutational divergence over time is ongoing.” Agree entirely otherwise where is the variation on which natural selection is to act and where are the change on which Kimura model of neutral selection is based.

          Kimura’s neutral theory of evolution only deals with functionally neutral mutations. We aren’t talking about neutral mutations here. We are talking about mutations that have a functional impact on the gene pool – pretty much all of which are detrimental.

          4] Mutations rate are less than 100 per generation. Agree and it appears that I was wrong in suggesting you are unchanged by this dialog as you seem to have presented me again with the references I cited in July last year.

          The overall mutation rate makes no real difference when it comes to the level of detrimental mutations realized which cannot be reversed by natural selection pressures in slowly reproducing populations.

          5] “The fact that mutational differences build up over time is also not contested in literature – and is in fact used as a clock to measure time since the MRCA. If you compare living individuals with the DNA obtained from ancient relatives, the mutation rate can actually be calculated in a direct manner – and it is similar to the mutation rates described above.”

          Sean what is happening here? Why are you talking about most recent common ancestors? Are you now accepting that hominids have been here for more than 100,000 years or 1.5 million?

          All humans share a MRCA. That doesn’t mean that our MRCA lived a million years ago. In fact, fairly recent papers have been published noting that all modern humans share a common ancestor that lived no more than a few thousand years ago… right in light with the Biblical account of origins.

          Is death really the only way [to remove detrimental mutations from the gene pool]?

          Yes, when you’re talking about natural selection, the only way this mechanism works is through pre-mature death, before reproduction, of individuals competing in a given environment.

          Are there mechanisms for removal of mutations in the germline during meitic division and cross over events?

          Yes, there are. But, the average mutation rates that I’ve listed for you take these features into account. The mutation rates listed are mutations that are missed after all editing functions have taken place. Then, once these mutations are passed on to the next generation, they are no longer targeted for editing by error-detecting mechanisms within the germline cell itself.

          Are there gene conversion events that favour functional genes?

          Not as far as I’m aware – not outside of the effects of natural selection and premature death.

          Is there selection for specific gametes during gametogenesis or embryo selection for function that would slowly remove detrimental mutations?

          Yes, there is selection for specific gametes. If a spermatozoan is mutated so that it can’t swim as well, then its genetic information will be selected against. This is a form of natural selection where a form of premature death is also required. While a very high death rate is in play here, which is good to maintain appropriately functioning spermatozoa over time, the only real impact this form of selection has is on the structure and function of those genetic elements that form the structure of the spermatozoa. However, outside of a very limited number of genes that deal with the structure of the spermatozoa – there is really no effect on the genetic information of the rest of the genes that are carried within the spermatozoa. So, overall, this effect has no real impact in removing detrimental mutations from the overall gene pool faster than they are entering it.

          Also, there is embryo selection as well. Up to 31% human conceptions are spontaneously aborted (taking into account both recognize and unrecognized pregnancies) due to morphologic defects that are genetically related about half the time. That’s a pretty high rate of genetically-induced abortions – even considering your cheetah example. It suggests that humans have already suffered a significant genetic insult as an overall species.

          The real problem with this example of natural selection is, of course, that this death rate has already been taken into consideration within the numbers I’ve already given you. These fetal deaths have already been counted as part of the minimum number of pregnancies needed, per woman, to keep the human gene pool neutral with respect to the very high detrimental mutation rate. As already noted, no woman can have trillions of pregnancies as would be required to keep the population genetically neutral – to avoid the downhill drift toward eventual genetic meltdown. Modern women don’t even have 20 pregnancies on average. So, you see, this form of natural selection is effectively irrelevant to the problem as well.

          According to your model of death as the only purifying selector the death rate would never have been able to do this and their doom is assured. As Galileo was purported to has said; “and yet they move”
          Real data trumps theory every time. Particularly when that theory is based on religous wishes and statistical conjecture rather than real observation and hypothesis testing.

          Your cheetah population was infused with genetic information from an outside population that had not declined as rapidly in genetic health. This doesn’t mean that the overall cheetah gene pool isn’t gradually declining as well. It just means that very small populations drift downhill at a faster rate is all – because of the increased statistical fragility of very small populations when it comes to having the time to deal with detrimental mutations that have a stronger detrimental effect.

          Nothing has “trumped” or solved the problem here. Your arguments don’t remotely address the problem in play when it comes to the continued decline of the human gene pool as well as all other slowly reproducing populations of living things.

          In short, we are where we started. The very best empirical evidence we currently have in hand strongly supports Sanford’s position. Your notions simply aren’t backed up by science. At best they are working hypotheses, hunches, or wishful thinking that simply aren’t testable in a potentially falsifiable manner.

          Your position on this topic simply isn’t scientific. You might be proved right given future information. Unfortunately for you right now, science isn’t based on what might be discovered in the future. Science is based on the best of what is currently known.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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        • This is probably beyond my education in genetics so I don’t find it a helpful discussion when trying to interpret genesis. I can just say that it doesn’t pass the face test. Sanfords theory doesn’t correspond to what I see happening in the world, so I find it totally unconvincing. It may be true as far as he has taken it, but it is obviously missing some huge piece of the puzzle.




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        • @ron:

          The “face test”? Now that’s Darwinian science for ya! 😉

          You clearly do not understand the arguments in play, so what good are your hunches in evaluating the credibility of Sandford’s position?

          When you say that “Sandford’s theory doesn’t correspond to what I see happening in the world”, what would you expect to see happening? Do you not see very prevalent genetic disease, low immune system function, high rates of cancer, high spontaneous miscarriage rates, etc? Do you not realize that it would be even worse than it currently is if not for a great degree of pre-programmed genetic redundancy?

          The concepts in play are somewhat difficult, but not beyond the mind of someone who made it through medical school – if you really put your mind to considering the evidence and statistics in play behind Sandford’s theory.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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        • @Sean Pitman:

          At risk of prolonging this dialog unnecessarily since you and I start from much different assumptions and experience in science I will summarize my conclusions beyond what I have said to shining.

          In a remarkable display of projection you say;

          “In short, we are were we started. The very best empirical evidence we currently have in hand strongly supports Sandford’s position. Your notions simply aren’t backed up by science. At best they are working hypotheses, hunches, or wishful thinking that simply aren’t testable in a potentially falsifiable manner.

          Your position on this topic simply isn’t scientific.”

          I agree we are where we started. You start with religious premise of degeneration and then interpret science from that point of view. In disagreeing with the consensus view you prolaim yourself an expert in all fields of the physical and biological science including population genetics, cladistics, geology, molecular biology, cosmology and disagree with mainstream science in all these fields.
          I am sorry but I do not think I am that smart or have sufficient time to study the primary literature in all these fields and can only point to my publications in the peer reviewed literature as my credentials. I have thought long and hard about issues in restricted areas of immunology and genetics and do think I know something about what is scientific. And I conclude that you like Sanford have answer theoretical questions with theoretical answers. As we have clearly established there is accumulation of near neutral and detrimental mutations from generation to generation but you have not shown in real life that this is a problem. You have not yet persuaded me by published data on real outcomes that there is a demonstrable problem except in situations of limited population size and artificial removal of selection pressures as Lynch has indicated. I would think that an outbred population of 7 billion is probably sufficient to allay fears of genetic bottlenecks in homosapiens.

          You have glibly responded to the real problems of cheetah and florida panther genetics and populations size without addressing the real problem you must confront to sustain a populations of 2 and a literal flood model. There is no infusion of genes from an external gene pool there.

          As I have repeatedly said you can criticize me for accepting conventional models of origins based on what I think is the best available data but to be scientific you must publish experiments testing your alternative model to have scientific credibility. Perhaps you can start with a real documented problem and tell us how a universal population bottleneck in every species 4000 yrs ago pans out genetically.

          Again I would repeat what I have said before; I waste way too much time here in apparently futile responses because I do have pastoral concern for people who might come to this site and be persuaded that you can only be a fundamentalist Christian or a fundamentalist Atheist. You can be an honest productive scientist and still accept the Grace that is manifest in the life and death of God incarnate in Jesus Christ.




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        • @pauluc:

          I have thought long and hard about issues in restricted areas of immunology and genetics and do think I know something about what is scientific.

          Great! So where is your testable hypothesis regarding the non-deterioration of slowly reproducing gene pools? The “solutions” you’ve presented so far are either completely irrelevant or insignificant. They do not remotely solve the problem.

          Where then is the “science” behind your position beyond just-so story telling and blind appeals to authority? Where is the testable explanatory value of your position?

          As we have clearly established there is accumulation of near neutral and detrimental mutations from generation to generation but you have not shown in real life that this is a problem.

          There are strong indications that this is a problem in real life. Genetic diseases are very prevalent in real life and there is no scientific reason to believe that the redundancy built into the functionality of living things isn’t being used up quite rapidly. Everything we know, scientifically, points toward an eventual genetic meltdown. You have no mechanistic reason, none, to suggest otherwise.

          Your only argument is, “Well, we haven’t reached a complete genetic meltdown yet!” Is that what it would take to get you to recognize the problem? – a full blown genetic meltdown? You’re really unable to detect such an eventuality ahead of time? Your science is that limited?

          Science is about predicting things before they happen, not after or during. If you can make predictions of events until they’re actually happening, you’re not doing science either…

          You have not yet persuaded me by published data on real outcomes that there is a demonstrable problem except in situations of limited population size and artificial removal of selection pressures as Lynch has indicated. I would think that an outbred population of 7 billion is probably sufficient to allay fears of genetic bottlenecks in homosapiens.

          You’ve yet to grasp that the problem in play is not solved by large population sizes. Not at all. The high detrimental mutation rate is present in every single individual in every single generation. Increasing the population size isn’t going to solve the downhill decline of the population as a whole.

          If you really understood the statistics of the problem, you’d recognize the futility of your thinking here. You evidently just haven’t sat down and done the math…

          You have glibly responded to the real problems of cheetah and florida panther genetics and populations size without addressing the real problem you must confront to sustain a populations of 2 and a literal flood model. There is no infusion of genes from an external gene pool there.

          Exactly! It is for this reason why the original gene pools were, by necessity, of higher quality than they are today. They had greater higher quality redundancy within their gene pools. They had farther to fall before reaching our current level.

          Humans (and cheetahs) have a spontaneous miscarriage rate (including both recognized and unrecognized pregnancies) of about 31% (Link). During the time of Noah this rate was most likely close to zero. We have declined since the time of Noah in the quality of our genetic cushion which shields us, as a population, from complete genetic meltdown.

          Perhaps you can start with a real documented problem and tell us how a universal population bottleneck in every species 4000 yrs ago pans out genetically.

          Mathematical models published by Rohde et al., in a 2004 issue of Nature suggest that the most recent common ancestor of all mankind living today lived as recently as 3,000 years ago. (Link)

          So, I fail to see your point? Also, I fail to see how this argument even addresses the otherwise overwhelming evidence for the gradual and inevitable build-up of detrimental mutations in our gene pool?

          You seem to be reaching for straws here. The reasons you don’t believe that this is a steady decline in the human genome seem to be related to your very strong original belief in the truth of neo-Darwinism – not because you really have any scientific rational for questioning the evidence for devolution. Yours seems to be a faith-based rejection of the evidence – evidence which is far more than statistical. You refuse to recognize the implications of the evidence until you actually see a full-blown genetic meltdown and population collapse. Until then, you’re simply going to shut your eyes to the science in hand…

          But, go ahead. Keep posting your pejorative comments and efforts to make something, anything, stick. It’s always nice to have a good foil around to highlight the scientific weaknesses of the neo-Darwinian position.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  49. Re Sean’s Quote

    “So, you really believe that it is God who creates all genetically-based diseases in humans? it is God who directly causes leukemia in children, Down Syndrome, sickle cell anemia, mutations that result in a host of cancers of all types (lung, colon, breast, ovarian, brain, etc), familial polyposis, cystic fibrosis, and on and on and on? God directly creates all of this extreme suffering and evil that you and I, as doctors, are struggling to prevent or at least treat in our patients? Really?”

    Hi Sean

    Bingo! Well said! Probematic theodicy in a nutshell. No good God would ever visit this kind of human suffering, let alone death, upon his creation in his own nature. Would we as parents ever wish these maladies upon our children?

    So how did ancient people rarionalize this dilemma? Ingeniiously. Let’s make Man, not God responsible for all this affliction, even though there are no empirical observations in nature to ascribe support such accountability to Man. Moreover, even though the rest of innocent animals had nothing to do with one man and woman’s sin, let’s ascribe all that animal disease, predation and death to a bite of an apple as well!

    So empirically, let’s take faith and atheism out of the equation and look at what we know by observation alone. There is disease and mortality and as far as we know that has always existed in nature. The only scientific rational explanation are that death and disease are natural occurring facts of life and that has always been the case.

    Why? Perhaps because there may be no moral imperative whatsoever designed into the accidental appearance of life in a universe with anthropic physical laws.

    And even so, the possibility of God exists, but not one necessarily concocted by the theodical rationalization of Man.

    Your empirical observing agnostic friend
    Ken




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    • @Ken:

      One thing that’s clear from the study of nature alone, at least for me, is that intelligence is required to explain some things, but not all things. From my perspective, certain events seem random and undirected – without the evident need of direct intelligent manipulation of any kind.

      It seems to me that this leaves open the possibility that if one chooses to separate themselves from the direct care of the Designer of life, of God, that certain features of natural decay, to include random non-directed “accidents” will naturally come into play… the results of which would rightly be called “evil” to be sure.

      This is right in line with the Bible’s claim that the current decay and apparent randomness that exists in the world is the result of us, as a humans, choosing to step away from God – not the other way around.

      This Biblical view is consistent with Dr. Sanford’s argument that the inevitable decay we see in our genome strongly implies that we will eventually go extinct unless God steps in and re-creates it and maintains it in its originally perfect state.

      If you don’t constantly take care of your house, it will decay over time. The same is true of our genome. Without the constant care of its Designer, it will also get old and decay over time.

      Who’s fault is that? It would have been evil on the part of God to make us and not maintain us – unless we actually chose to remove ourselves from Him. In that case, it would have been evil for Him to force us to remain with Him.

      You see, the problem of free will comes into play…

      This is the advantage that the SDA perspective of the “Great Controversy” brings to the world. It helps explain the balance between the freewill of God’s sons and daughters and God’s will.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • Sean,

        I appreciate your work in this endeavor, to use your intelligence as a defense of the Gospel, while at the same time having the humility to admit that we don’t (and can’t) know everything. There is a wonderful passage in “The Great Controversy” that states something to the effect that brilliant people without faith in God don’t understand that we aren’t permitted to know EVERYTHING… that God veils some truth, some knowledge from us, and there are some things (like the very nature of God Himself) that we should not try to interpret. Ultimately, all our knowledge is folly without faith and trust in God.

        It is this very humility, to submit oneself to God and to admit that we don’t know everything, that provides the Holy Spirit to do His work in recreating us, day by day, hour by hour. Oh how we all need more, much more, of the simple faith of a child!




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        • @jdoe:
          “It is this very humility, to submit oneself to God and to admit that we don’t know everything, that provides the Holy Spirit to do His work in recreating us, day by day, hour by hour.”

          I like this sentiment. It is also a good reason for us to give others the room to work out the things we think they don’t understand with God.




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    • @Ken:

      I really dont think we need to go there as the intelligent design model and theodicy run into all sorts of dilemmas on the issue of predation and evil.

      If evil comes not from God but from Satan then is Satan a creator or an intelligent designer? We then no longer have one intelligent designer but 2. How do we tell the difference? It is “natural” but is predation good or bad? It is clearly designed for a purpose and well adapted to that purpose. Is death good or bad? Is it the final enemy? It is certainly essential for life, sustainability and growth for carbon based life. Did satan construct the death pathways in a cell? Is the carefully “designed” system of evenomation seen in stinging insects, and reptiles a product of chance and degeneration, of God or of an evil intelligent designer or of the anthropomorphization of evil Satan.

      Much simpler to say there is a physical world that functions by natural law and that God is not seen in that world except through the anthropic principle and the intelligibility of the physical Universe. God is revealed not in the physical world and our gaps in understanding but at the point at which he became part of it in the event of the incarnation in Jesus Christ and when man, in searching for the transcendent, for ideals such beauty, love and peace that transcend this universe perceive dimly a world of possibility beyond the natural; The Kingdom of heaven.




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      • Paul, I like your synthesis. It corresponds nicely with the traditional Christian doctrine that God is something “other “, unknowable, and outside of creation. If you make the assumption that the Bible is primarily a history of human spiritual development and its purpose is to help humanity grow spiritually, rather than to define God persae, or to be a perfectly accurate historical document, then everything seems to fall into place and makes sense.

        The eternal nature of god as a Creator corresponds nicely with all our observations of a very ancient universe, the geology of earth, and the fossil record, on going evolution, everything. it just fits. — At the risk of a bad pun, It passes the smell test. 🙂




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      • @pauluc:

        If evil comes not from God but from Satan then is Satan a creator or an intelligent designer? We then no longer have one intelligent designer but 2.

        There are billions of intelligent designers that we know besides God and Satan. Humans are intelligent designers as well.

        Determining that intelligent design was required to explain the origin of a given phenomenon is not the same thing as determining which intelligent designer was responsible.

        How do we tell the difference?

        That’s much harder to do. However, the Bible is a big help in this regard in that the Bible explains what God is and is not responsible for. According to the Bible, God is not responsible for the existence of the suffering on this planet. We are responsible for it since we, collectively and individually, have rebelled against God’s will. We have separated ourselves from God and are now realizing the natural consequences of this corporate choice.

        It is “natural” but is predation good or bad? It is clearly designed for a purpose and well adapted to that purpose. Is death good or bad? Is it the final enemy? It is certainly essential for life, sustainability and growth for carbon based life. Did satan construct the death pathways in a cell? Is the carefully “designed” system of evenomation seen in stinging insects, and reptiles a product of chance and degeneration, of God or of an evil intelligent designer or of the anthropomorphization of evil Satan.

        You really think that death is in fact “good”? You see no problem with the death of sentient creatures of any kind? – not even humans? Do you even believe in an afterlife? – in a life after this one? If so, what’s the point of death for humans? – to only be raised again? What do you think Heaven is going to be like? What on earth are you looking forward to?

        As far as I’m concerned, in no sense of the word is the suffering of sentient beings, humans or animals, “good”. It may be seen as a necessary evil in the current order of things, but that doesn’t make it any less evil. For all who are not sociopathic, the suffering and death of any sentient creature, the pain of a crushed bird or a severely injured dog, for example, calls for expressions of pity and empathetic pain on our part – and on the part of any good God.

        No good God would ever deliberately create the current order of things for any reason. This is a horrible world in which we live. If the next life is also going to be based on the “survival of the fittest”, I want no part in it. And, I dare say that no one else with an ounce of ability for empathy with suffering creatures of any kind, would want to live forever under such condition either.

        The Bible is far far more hopeful than the picture painted by Pauluc. The Bible describes the original world and the world made new as a place where there is no death or suffering for any sentient creature of any kind. That’s the world that the God of the Bible created and described as being “very good”. That’s the world that I’m looking forward to God re-creating.

        Remember, we aren’t talking about the death of single cells or orange peels or apple cores here. We are talking about the suffering and death of sentient creatures who can experience pain, suffering, and the fear of death.

        Do you think the Jesus you admire so much created such evil? Your Jesus did deliberately created this world of untold suffering and evil? – the same Jesus that the Bible describes as fighting so hard to alleviate suffering in this world? The same Jesus who did in fact call death the “enemy”? – the same Jesus who felt pain when he saw even a sparrow fall injured to the ground?

        I’m sorry, but you have a very different picture of Jesus, and of God, than what I see as the God of the Bible…

        Sean Pitman
        http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  50. Re Sean’s Quote

    “This is right in line with the Bible’s claim that the current decay and apparent randomness that exists in the world is the result of us, as a humans, choosing to step away from God – not the other way around.”

    Hello Sean

    Or it might have nothing to do with humans and an interfering God whatsoever. Sentient creatures may be just a sheer accident of a much grander design that we cannot yet understand. i don’t fault you for your theology, i just look for empirical reasons for the leap of faith. I see the creative imagination and rationization here, not the hand of Nature’s Creator. Then again as an agnostic I acknowledge the possibility you could be absolutely correct. Never known anyone that was though, most emphatically myself! 🙂

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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    • @Ken:

      This is like arguing that the car in your garage is the result of a “sheer accident of a much grander design that we cannot yet understand”.

      Where is the mechanism for the “sheer accident” hypothesis of yours for producing the functional complexities of the fantastic machine of your own body? – while the comparably simplistic machine in your garage was “obviously the result of deliberate design”?

      It’s funny to me that no one is “agnostic” when it comes to the origin of their car, but when it comes to the origin of a super-machine, like the human body (or any living biomachine for that matter), a mindless origin somehow becomes more plausible?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  51. I have an idea about the specifics. Seems like some on this board don’t realize that Dr. Sanford has written a book with all the technical data. They could buy the book or get their own facts on the web or in the literature




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    • @-Shining:

      Dont worry, we have indeed read the book and have looked up his recent papers in the peer reviewed literature which in fact were 2 papers in the field of bioinformatic not experimental biology.

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3102618/?tool=pubmed

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2817707/?tool=pubmed

      Unfortunately he like Sean believed that modelling, clever though it is can substitute for real observations and hypothesis testing.

      If you read the first paper you will see that outcomes really depend on your assignment of fitness cost. You can make is way what you want. I have yet to be persuaded that there is primary data showing clearly over time there is decreasing fitness. Sean has admitted this in saying “The human genome/gene pool is not currently in functional “meltdown” mode.” but then goes on with the yes buts.




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      • OK. Everyone seems to agree that there are more and more deleterious mutataions. Since Sanford was involved with designing the gene gun, he is more aware than most of efforts to deal with the bad stuff.

        I am not a dr. or a biologist so correct me if I am wrong, but gently please. 🙂 It looks to me like a problem with trying to fix the mutant problems is knowing what part of the DNA or RNA is bad. Also a problem is what good things are going to be lost in removing the bad things. And once something gets into the gene pool, it may be impossilbe to call it back.

        -Shining




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    • @-Shining:

      Sorry seems to have posted before I finished editing this. His other relevant paper that is not indexed I would suggest you read is from a computer science conference.

      Sanford, J.C., Baumgardner, J., Gibson, P., Brewer, W., ReMine, W. (2007). Using computer simulation to understand mutation accumulation dynamics and genetic load. In Shi et al. (Eds.), ICCS 2007, Part II, LNCS 4488 (pp.386-392), Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg.

      Which begins with “Long-standing theoretical concerns about mutation accumulation within the human population can now be addressed with numerical simulation.” and proceeds to discuss Mendels accountant.

      This is my real concern. Both Sean and Sanford start from a religious premise of degeneration and construct a theoretical model to answer a theoretical question without at all dealing with the real biology. No-one is contesting that mutation occur that most of these are not beneficial or that there are around 100 per generation. What is contested is that death is the only mechanisms for removal and that they are accumulating at a lethal rate. Theoretically this has been established beyond any doubt in Seans mind but as a biologist I demand a little more than Seans reassurances and mathematics based on God said it I believe it. That may be religion but it is not and never has been the basis of science.




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      • @pauluc:

        No-one is contesting that mutation occur that most of these are not beneficial or that there are around 100 per generation. What is contested is that death is the only mechanisms for removal and that they are accumulating at a lethal rate.

        You’re the one telling me that natural selection is what solves the detrimental mutation problem. How do you think natural selection works? – if not via the premature death of individuals within a population?

        But hey, I’m open to suggestions. How are detrimental mutations removed from a gene pool without death being involved? You keep acting like there is some other mechanism, but you aren’t very keen on letting us know what this mechanism might be. Do you have any idea at all?

        If you don’t really know the mechanism of how detrimental mutations can be removed from slowly reproducing gene pools faster than they are entering it, upon what is your opinion based? Certainly not any kind of testable scientific theory – or am I completely off base here? You just know that Sanford must somehow be wrong because your interpretation of the fossil record must be correct – right?

        Talk about letting one’s personal philosophies and pre-established paradigms affect one’s views of “science”…

        Sean Pitman
        http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  52. Ken: So empirically, let’s take faith and atheism out of the equation and look at what we know by observation alone. There is disease and mortality and as far as we know that has always existed in nature. The only scientific rational explanation are that death and disease are natural occurring facts of life and that has always been the case.

    Why? Perhaps because there may be no moral imperative whatsoever designed into the accidental appearance of life in a universe with anthropic physical laws.

    That is a wild leap of blind faith many are willing to make. That leap of faith imagines that –

    1. Life spontaneously generates of out an abiotic environment.

    2. It seeks to ignore the observation of a “down not up” trend in genetic mutations ( – 20,000 per cell per day??!!!). An observed result that means that if we extrapolate backwards over time – mankind started out “perfect”.

    3. It seeks to ignore the fact that there is no such thing as a prokaryote turning into a eukaryote – and no such thing as a single celled eukaryote (amoeba anyone?) turning into a horse over time.

    4. It seeks to ignore the fact that there is no rational explanation at all for molecule to human mind evolutionism.

    5. It flies in the face of known science.

    ===============================

    Given the above – the only rational form of evolutionism is Theistic Evolutionism.

    Given the content of the Bible – the only rational form of T.E. is NOT Christian T.E.

    –================

    The Bible explains disease and death as the consequence of choosing to side against our Creator – and choosing rather to side with those in rebellion against Him.

    Turns out that – cutting ourselves off from the source of life is not the great panacea of evolutionary bliss that it was marketed to be in Genesis 3.

    The goal of the Gospel is restoration of that relationship to the Creator. But that means moral accountability – and of course, not everyone is going to be pleased with the prospect.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  53. In the quote below Pauluc argues that Sanford and Veith only turn to acceptance of the Bible on the subject of origins as a result of their choice to be Christian instead of atheist.

    pauluc: 2] People like Sanford and Vieth with some scientific credentials, erroneously I think, claim science as the basis for their beliefs. Both became Christians and then became literal creationists not the other way round. I have yet to be shown any example of a scientist who starts with the scientific evidence without a religious bias and comes to recent creationism.

    So I call him on it. And point out that he has unwittingly made the atheist complaint not the much expected T.E. complaint.

    BobRyan:

    You are making the case for atheism.

    If you were T.E. — then “you should be arguing” that both men turned from atheist evolutionism to T.E when they became Christians (at least for a while) and then inexplicably accepted Bible Creationism even though nothing in the Bible or Christianity suggests that they would think to do so.

    Instead of that you unwittingly argue against Christianity itself as if the embrace of dirty rotten Bible Creationism is only because they left the true blue faith of atheism and turned to Christianity.

    In so doing you self-conflictedly argue that Christianity requires acceptance of Bible creationism – even for atheist biologists who turn to Christianity!

    And the response?

    pauluc: Sorry but your logic is way beyond my ken and completely impenetrable to me

    That is odd – I did not expect you to claim “failure to follow the argument” so soon.

    Simply put – when you argue that it is Christianity itself that demands Bible creationism – you make the case against a Christian T.E POV. The Christian T.E. POV is the most logical stopping point for an atheist such as Veith and Sanford coming into the Church. They had the least reason of all to “also embrace” Creationism – given they were making their living in an area that demands blind faith acceptance of evolutionism.

    Apparently Darwin, Veith, Sanford, Dawkins and a host of others figured out the same thing you accidentally admitted in your first statement above – Christianity requires acceptance of Bible creationism.

    How “unnexpected then” your choice to bet heavily on the supposition that our objective unbiased readers will find it so difficult to “follow the point”.

    Since you appear to be willing to miss the point – we can offer the task of following text above as an “exercise for the reader” without any problem at all.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  54. Sean Pitman: Detrimental mutation rate
    Given that the ratio of beneficial vs. detrimental mutations is so low (less than 1/1000), the detrimental mutation rate would be very similar to the overall functional mutation rate. In other words there would be ~50 detrimental mutations (to include mostly near-neutral detrimental mutations) per person per generation.

    Required reproductive/death rate to compensate for detrimental mutation rate
    The reduction in fitness (i.e., the genetic load) due to deleterious mutations with multiplicative effects is given by 1 – e^-U (Kimura and Moruyama, 1966). For a detrimental mutation rate (U) of just 3 mutations per person per generation, the average fitness is reduced to 2.71828183^-3 = 0.05. The number of offspring needed to maintain the population at the parental level of fitness would therefore be: 1 / 0.05 = 20 offspring per woman per generation for two to survive without any detrimental mutations. Of course, if the detrimental mutation rate were really more like 50 per person per generation, the number of offspring needed, per woman, to allow natural selection to deal with this degree of bad karma would be around 1/e^-50 = ~5 million trillion offspring per woman per generation.

    Now, you might argue that the actual detrimental mutation rate is much lower than this, but it is rather hard to believe, given what we’ve learned about the functionality of the non-coding elements of the genome lately, that the true detrimental mutation rate could be remotely within the reproductive range of what any woman could possibly achieve in her reproductive lifetime. We humans simply do not reproduce remotely fast enough to keep with the minimum rate of detrimental mutations

    Clear and to the point. Thanks!

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  55. Many would assume that what God allows and could prevent, He is responsible for.

    How do we reconcile this issue….

    “You see, the problem of free will comes into play…

    This is the advantage that the SDA perspective of the “Great Controversy” brings to the world. It helps explain the balance between the freewill of God’s sons and daughters and God’s will.”

    Sean Pitman

    We could perceive that God makes beings with a “free will” and then requires accountability of how it is used. But God did not choose for any created being to sin. All we can say is that God created the possibility of sin, not sin itself.

    The only way God would be responsible for sin is if He created beings without the ability to sin or not. And this is Lucifer’s argument.

    If moral beings have intelligence to discern what is good and bad, and if they can discern the implications of their decisions, then it would follow that no created being would ever choose to sin.

    If sin results in a bad choice, it would be because the individual did not know the outcome, or could not discern the implications of the choice.

    If so, then God is responsible for sin because He created beings who could not discern the outcome of their choice, and therefore, could not be held accountable for their choice.

    In which case, sin is never rebellion, it is only based on ignorance. We have to consider if this is true or not. And our attitude toward God will be dependent on the conclusion we draw by the evidence we consider.

    Do created beings have enough understanding and knowledge to be held accountable for their actions? Can God “judge” anyone based on sufficient understanding of His will and the ability to do it?

    Is sin rebellion, or simply ignorance?

    For a believing Christian, the answer is “yes”, God can hold us accountable for our decisions and actions, and we concur that sin is not simply ignorance, but willful rebellion and a deliberate choice to oppose God and His kingdom.

    We also acknowledge that there is always some degree of ignorance in our decisions, but not to the point we can plead this factor in judgment and avoid accountability for our decisions and actions.

    When we understand the issue, we can see why Lucifer always claimed he was not in rebellion but was only acting out his preception of the situation.

    But there came a point in his process of reasoning, that he knew his conclusions were faulty and that he was wrong. Now his continued activity is far more than speculation based on ignorance, it is blatant rebellion based on pride.

    If you read EGW’s comments on this issue in the Great Controversy, you will see the point.

    With this in mind, we can know that at some point, all human beings have some adequate knowledge to know right and wrong as the Holy Spirit works in the life and they preceive what choice they must make. And so all are culpable in some context for their moral and/or immoral actions.

    Ultimately, people are not lost because of ignorance of God and His will. They will be lost based on rebellion and deliberate rejection of truth about God and His kingdom. Even the rejection of accountability will be considered rebellion on some level in God’s judgment.

    So Paul says, “Be not deceived, God is not mocked……” God knows the difference between ignorance and rebellion and He will judge accordingly.

    Bill Sorensen




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    • Bill, I pretty much agree with your analysis. I guess I just disagree with you about the character of God. I think that the preeminent characteristic of god is love and that his primary concern is comunity, I see the tolerance of the liberals to be god like and the intolerance of the conservatives to be evil. So to me, Educate Truth represents an effort to destroy community and is wrong. I think it totally misrepresents the character of god.




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  56. Re Sean’s Quote and Theodicy

    “Who’s fault is that? It would have been evil on the part of God to make us and not maintain us – unless we actually chose to remove ourselves from Him. In that case, it would have been evil for Him to force us to remain with Him.

    You see, the problem of free will comes into play…”

    Hi Sean

    Respectfully I don’t agree that as a matter of free will I am
    responsible for the actions of any ancestors that broke the law. i am totally responsible for my own actions. I see the concept of ancestral Sin as a contrivance of the priest or prophet class to enslave the masses. It has no empirical basis whatsoever and is not subject to falsification. We don’t even know for a fact if the guy that supposedly had the original vision of the transgression in the Garden of Eden recorded it. As others have alluded the ideas may well have been borrowed, modified and redacted from older cultures (Babylonian/Sumerian). On the other hand, even after translation from one ancient language to others, it could be the God inspired word of a prophet.

    So what are we left with? A non scientific theory as to why there is death and disease or the empirical reality that this was always the case as far as Man can detect. Don’t know of anything that lives forever. As our friend Bob Ryan often argues what do we observe or can we test in nature. Exactly.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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    • @Ken:

      According to the Bible, which is consistent with my own personal experience, you and I, and all other sons and daughters of Adam and Eve, inherited their morally fallen natures.

      We also belong to the same family and, like it or not, are stuck with each other. The real evil of sin is not that it simply does bad things to bad people, but that it does bad things to good people – it hurts the innocent.

      Again, according to the Bible, this is not God’s will nor was it ever his desire. It is simply the natural consequences of letting the free-will choice to rebel against God and his government play out in our world. According to the Bible, God is actual at work trying to fix the current problem. He is working to resolve the rebellion between those who are born naturally rebellious and himself.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  57. Dear Sean

    I respect your belief in the Bible and your noble attempt to support and corroborate your deep faith by empirical means. I sincerely hope I have not offended you with my agnostic approach.

    Where you see original sin as the source of death and disease I see the empirical essence of Nature itself. But I do agree with you that a benevolent, loving, omnipotent designer would not consciously inflict this paradigm upon sentient creatures. That is one of the reasons why I see any design as at best indifferent to the plight of man.

    I am very optimistic for Mankind, notwithstanding its many faults. In time I think we will master population growth, disease, longevity and space travel. Just look at the progress we have made as a species in the last hundred years. What will the next hundred bring?

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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    • @ken:

      While the knowledge of mankind has improved, our morality has not. Also, genetic decline continues to head us toward eventual genetic meltdown and extinction.

      If you would read the Bible, you would start to see a different solution to the problem of the suffering that exists on this planet. The freewill rebellion against what is good is evident all around. People deliberately choose, of their own free will, to harm others for their own personal advantage. This need not be the will of God. This can be and is a form of rebellion against his will for us. It is only in bowing to the will of God that we will ever realize any improvement to our current rapidly degenerating moral and physical condition…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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    • @Ken
      Only when Jesus comes. For now we have more and more cancer at younger and younger ages, more and more diabetes, more and more Parkinson’s, Downs, heart and lung problems, more autism and its cousins, more ADHD. When my grandson had heart surgery at 5 months, he was taken to a huge hospital in Portland where every child there was in deep medical trouble. I do not remember when I was young that there were so very many children and babies who were so very ill. Nor was crime so rampant, nor war so unending, nor debt so monumental. My friend, how I would like to sit back and enjoy everything and not have to be concerned about anything, but it is not going to happen now. I shall though, in the earth made new. You can too, my friend, if you accept God and His gracious offer. It’s gonna be awesome. Don’t miss it. Don’t miss it.




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  58. Sean Pitman: this is not God’s will nor was it ever his desire. It is simply the natural consequences of letting the free-will choice to rebel against God and his government play out in our world.

    Sean, strictly speaking, this is not exactly true. God and Jesus did have a discussion about whether to continue creating the earth in light of Satan’s rebellion. The Bible calls Jesus “the lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world” It wasn’t until Jesus agreed to rescue man should he fall that God the father agreed to proceed with creation.

    God saw man’s fall and knew what it would cost, and yet he chose to proceed. So, you have to say that the whole thing, with all the possibilities of both choices were within the will of God and were OK. God was reconciled to fallen man even before he started creation. He must have seen something in the process that was valuable enough to make it worth while. I think the challenge for us is to find out. What is it that was so wonderful, and so valuable, that God would chose to proceed in the face of such horrible consequences?




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    • @Ron:

      Just because God foresaw the existence of the rebellion of some of those who would be given freewill, and the need to make a plan to deal with this eventuality (a plan that has been in place from eternity past by the way) does not mean that he desired the rebellion to occur.

      The nature of freewill is that the freewill agent is able to make decisions contrary to the will of God. If God had decided not to create Lucifer or humans on this world because of his knowledge that the freewill given would be misused, that would have destroyed the whole concept and meaning of freewill. If God blocks all of the choices of freewill agents before they can be make contrary to his own will, he has not then created freewill. Rather, he has created a form of slavery. There is no way for anyone to truly love God if there is no real choice for one to chose to reject God.

      So, therefore, the greatest evidence of the existence of freewill, and therefore of true love, is the demonstration that God is willing to let us rebel against his own will for us.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  59. I visit this forum because I am a Seventh-Day Adventist. What does it mean to be an SDA? For me, it means that I have given much consideration to the realities of our world and have been wholly convinced that the beliefs of this group about our existence is accurate. The vast majority of the world would not agree.

    In fact, most of the world today embraces some form of belief that mankind continues to progress (or evolve) toward higher planes of existence. This is opposite of the whole thrust of scripture that teaches that we were created in perfection and have been in a decline since the “fall” of the original created couple. The true SDA position embraces this. If this is not what you believe, why do you claim to be SDA?

    Ellen White best stated our position on page 45, Patriarchs and Prophets:

    “God created man in His own image. Here is no mystery. There is no ground for the supposition that man was evolved by slow degrees of development from the lower forms of animal or vegetable life. Such teaching lowers the great work of the Creator to the level of man’s narrow, earthly conceptions. Men are so intent upon excluding God from the sovereignty of the universe that they degrade man and defraud him of the dignity of his origin. He who set the starry worlds on high and tinted with delicate skill the flowers of the field, who filled the earth and the heavens with the wonders of His power, when He came to crown His glorious work, to place one in the midst to stand as ruler of the fair earth, did not fail to create a being worthy of the hand that gave him life. The genealogy of our race, as given by inspiration, traces back its origin, not to a line of developing germs, mollusks, and quadrupeds, but to the great Creator. Though formed from the dust, Adam was ‘the son of God.'”




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  60. Ron said in response to my post…..

    “I see the tolerance of the liberals to be god like and the intolerance of the conservatives to be evil. So to me, Educate Truth represents an effort to destroy community and is wrong. I think it totally misrepresents the character of god.”

    Of course, in this we disagree, Ron. What you call “the tolerance of the liberals” is the ground work for total intolerance.

    So you support the idea that the church has no mandate to define itself and discipline those who claim to be members by dis-fellowshipment. And this you will not “tolerate” as a liberal. Discipline is not tolerated by a liberal. Even within the sphere of any given government or authority.

    So, according to your theory, parents can not discipline their children. Civil law can not discipline members of society. And a church can not discipline its members either.

    Your whole theory is anti-law, anti-government. Zero discipline. No one is answerable to anyone or anything and everyone should be allowed to teach whatever they please, and do as they please.

    We are free, Ron. In that we can join a church or not. We can free ourselves from any government control if we can find a place on this earth where there is no civil government. We can even abandon the family if we don’t like the rules of the house.

    But we are not “free” to claim we are a church member which gives us license to do and teach and act as we please without considering the possibility that we may be disciplined if we are out of harmony with the organization and/or oppose it.

    What you want is “irresponsible freedom” that is no part of common sense, nor is it in harmony with God’s kingdom and government. It is the same theory Satan offers the human family in the name of the so-called “gospel” being advocated in much of modern Adventism.

    What God offers us is “responsible freedom” that demands accountability within the framework of His stated authority and government. And this is the same “freedom” the church offers if and when it parallels God’s kingdom.

    As a side note, we should oppose any “conservative” government that claims authority outside its given boundries.

    One family can not impose rules on another family. One government can not impose rules on another civil government. And no church can impose rules outside their own jurisdiction and given authority.

    This is where Rome goes totally outside their boundries of authority and claim authority to discipline the whole world in the name of the church. They don’t just dis-fellowship people, they kill them.

    They claim the authority to “judge” who can go to heaven and who can’t. (St. Peter at the gate.) They do have a right to “judge” who can be a member of their church. But not take authority that only belongs to God and decide who is finally fit for heaven and who is not.

    Just so, Ron, the SDA church has a right to define its doctrine and teaching and discipline and/or fire anyone it decides is no longer in harmony with its stated goals and teaching.

    In this, you apparently disagree, claiming “irresponsible freedom” for any and all church members to do and teach as they please, even if and when they are paid by the denomination.

    I think this is an inane conclusion and I think more than a few would agree with me.

    Bill Sorensen




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    • @Bill Sorensen: “So you support the idea that the church has no mandate to define itself and discipline those who claim to be members by dis-fellowshipment.”

      No, that is not my position at all. My position is that the church should not use abusive techniques to enforce discipline. The church has every right to dis-fellowship anyone who is being abusive or destructive.

      “This is where Rome goes totally outside their boundries of authority and claim authority to discipline the whole world in the name of the church. They don’t just dis-fellowship people, they kill them.”

      And Rome is only a little further down the path than Educate Truth is. It is the drive for orthodoxy that is at the root of Rome’s persecutions. Basically, they are saying, if you believe the wrong things you are going to hell, so to prevent that, we will burn you at the stake so you will repent, and we can save your soul.

      Educate Truth is saying to teachers, if you don’t believe and teach exactly what the most conservative person in the SDA church believes, we are afraid some student will go to hell, so we will take your livelihood away. An appropriate response is to address the issues.




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  61. Ken: . We don’t even know for a fact if the guy that supposedly had the original vision of the transgression in the Garden of Eden recorded it. As others have alluded the ideas may well have been borrowed, modified and redacted from older cultures (Babylonian/Sumerian)

    Though Ken argues consistently against any point made or raised by Sean – you have to give Ken credit for the above statement in that it is totally logical for one who embraces the agnostic or atheist world view.

    That is one of the points we have been making on this web site – all along.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  62. ron: Bill, I pretty much agree with your analysis. I guess I just disagree with you about the character of God. I think that the preeminent characteristic of god is love and that his primary concern is comunity, I see the tolerance of the liberals to be god like

    I on the other hand – see the intolerance of the liberals to be very “ungodlike”.

    We see the liberal ungodlike intolerance in all evolutionism vs Intelligent Design discussions in public universities and on an audio recording or two from a certain SDA university.

    And there also seems to be a certain liberal intolerance to accepting the Bible “as it reads”.

    I have also noticed a bit of a lib intolerance over at the spectrum – where they will at times ban those who post in favor of the Bible. Particularly if the lib response to those posts are sooo embarrassing for the owners of the web site that they cannot afford to have their own liberal methods and shallow thinking exposed so fully because it starts their own liberal readership thinking that maybe the liberal model is not the panacea it was cracked up to be.

    In Sanford’s video he gives first hand testimony regarding the total censorship shut out that the libs have when it comes to discussing ideas that do not fit their religious preferences on origins.

    God’s “tolerance” of the devil ends in the lake of fire.

    Yet as some liberals have pointed out that tolerance did continued in heaven until “war in heaven” cast the devil out.. and God’s tolerance does continue on earth until the 7 last Plagues, the 2nd coming and then the lake of fire ends it.

    Even so – Christ was “casting out demons” not simply “tolerating them” even 2000 years ago.

    And in the Garden of Eden God did not tell Adam and Eve to listen to the devil – or to try out his ideas for themselves and see what they think.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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    • @BobRyan:
      God’s “tolerance” of the devil ends in the lake of fire.

      There is one thing that both God and Liberals do not tolerate. Abusive behavior. The only reason I know of that a liberal would block a conservative from posting is for disrespectful language. The reason God destroys Satan, is that he is “the accuser of the brethren”.




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  63. Re Free Will and Omniscence

    Hello Sean and Ron

    Fascinating stuff, I really enjoyed yout theological perspectives. And while strictly speaking we are not exploring empirical observations in nature I think is very important to explore this topic philosophically.

    Let’s start with the idea of omniscent design where the variable of free will has already been factored into the inevitable outcome. Second premise: God is perfect which means Man’s rebellion resulting in disease and death is all part of God’s perfect plan. Otherwise why create creatures of free will whose actions you know will result in disease and death?

    Respectfully, wouldn’t a more charitable God be one not omniscent? Not knowing that Adam would not disobey by eating the apple of divine knowledge? Not knowing that Man would bring disease and death upon itself? The problem with this concept of God is it suggests an imperfect being not in control of matters right?

    Theodicy is vexing when one is trying to conceive of a perfect design to a dangerous universe. But, at least for this agnostic, to attribute the observable essence of Nature to the actions of two disobedient humans is far more incredible than what science has told us to date about the origins of the universe and life on earth.

    And,even in saying all this, the possibility for God exists, but a God or force we may not remotely understand……yet. 🙂

    Your reflective agnostic friend
    Ken




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    • @Ken:

      Let’s start with the idea of omniscent design where the variable of free will has already been factored into the inevitable outcome. Second premise: God is perfect which means Man’s rebellion resulting in disease and death is all part of God’s perfect plan. Otherwise why create creatures of free will whose actions you know will result in disease and death?

      If God chose not to create beings with free will simply because he knew that they would eventually rebel against him and his perfect will for them, that would negate the whole concept of free will. Of course, no one would know that God had rigged the system – except for God of course.

      If God knew that he had rigged the system for success, without the possibility of failure, he would know that he had removed true freedom of will from us. This would, of course, remove the possibility of true love because true love is based on the real option for rejection.

      Respectfully, wouldn’t a more charitable God be one not omniscent? Not knowing that Adam would not disobey by eating the apple of divine knowledge? Not knowing that Man would bring disease and death upon itself? The problem with this concept of God is it suggests an imperfect being not in control of matters right?

      Yes. A God who is learning as he goes along is not really a God at all. He just a more advanced form of human, subject to time and place just as we are. He is also not the creator of everything if he is subject to our time frame.

      Beyond this, a God that exists outside of our time, who created time itself for us, would know our futures perfectly. However, foreknowledge isn’t the same thing as causation. I have knowledge of historical events, but that doesn’t mean that I caused all historical events of which I am aware. In the same way God has knowledge of future events, but is not necessarily the cause of all future events.

      In short, God knows what freedom of will is going to do beforehand, but that doesn’t mean that he caused its actions. If he were to block what he knew would be the natural result of freewill, that would eliminate freewill… and the ability to truly love.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  64. Bob said…..

    “I have also noticed a bit of a lib intolerance over at the spectrum – where they will at times ban those who post in favor of the Bible. Particularly if the lib response to those posts are sooo embarrassing for the owners of the web site that they cannot afford to have their own liberal methods and shallow thinking exposed so fully because it starts their own liberal readership thinking that maybe the liberal model is not the panacea it was cracked up to be.”

    This is exactly right, Bob. They “tolerate” no real challenge to their agenda or their theology.

    Their so called “supporting ministry” could be equated to Lucifer’s “supporting ministry” to God’s kingdom in heaven.

    The main thrust of Spectrum is to undermine bible Adventism. Beginning with EGW and ending with the bible itself.

    But my main objection is not Spectrum, but our leadership who not only tolerates but patronizes and supports the ministry and its influence by allowing them a booth at the GC sessions. As they do A-today and no doubt other non-SDA ministries.

    This pluralism agenda supported by our church is far more responsible for its demise than the apostate ministries they allow. It has created the total Babylon confusion we are dealing with including this evolution/creation discussion.

    I have seen whole families simply walk out of the church and keep Sunday because of this apostate leadership who allow false doctrine that is deceiving people more and more. Once the real and full implication of what is being taught finally dawns on more and more people, we will soon see a mass exodus of not a few here and there, but hundreds or even thousands leave the church.

    So let me ask a simply question, “If we don’t have to keep the law to be saved, as the church teaches continually, why would anyone keep the Sabbath if and when it involved a real cross?”

    Obviously, they won’t. Nor any other law they find inconvenient and cuts across their carnal minds and desires.

    So, the bible is being set aside by more and more professed SDA’s as we see demonstrated by the abandonment of the biblical account of creation. For it should be clear that if we don’t have to keep the law to be saved, neither do we have to believe the bible to be saved.

    It doesn’t take a “rocket scientist” to see the obvious implications and conclusions to such a theology. But, I suppose if many angels in heaven were deceived by this theory in one form or another, sinful beings like ourselves are even more inclined to fall for it. After all, this is what the whole liberal movement is about, isn’t it?

    Bill Sorensen




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  65. Sean

    Thanks for responding. Some people I have met smile wryly when I say I have had a dialog with Sean Pitman about science. It is indeed hard to separate science from religion here.

    I do apologize if you think my comments have been perjorative that was never their intent.

    I apologize if I have offended by my syntheses that you think have been “just so stories”

    I apologize if the deprecation of my expertise in many fields and deference to those with demonstrated expertise is seen as “blind appeals to authority?”

    I apologize for not sufficiently privileging limited mathematical models over concrete empirical observations

    I apologize for not seeing the Rohdes model as supporting YEC and for agreeing with the critical analysis of this modelling by Hein
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v431/n7008/full/431518a.html#f1

    I apologize for not accepting by faith “..the original gene pools were, by necessity, of higher quality than they are today. They had greater higher quality redundancy within their gene pools.” and asking for evidence for a theoretical genetic basis for this or for evidence in the fossil record and ancient DNA sequence.

    I apologize if I have confused people by introducing population size as a critical issue in population genetics or of thinking that recessive genetic diseases, the most common form of monogenic disease dependents on restricted population size and inbreeding for their manifestations. I clearly erroneously thought it was relevant.

    I apologize for my ignorance and that I have not “really understood the statistics of the problem, you’d recognize the futility of your thinking here. You evidently just haven’t sat down and done the math…”

    I do not mind at all to be thought a foolish buffoon who is merely a “good foil around to highlight the scientific weaknesses of the neo-Darwinian position” as long as even one person sees the lack of imagination in the only 2 options presented here of fundamentalist Christianity or fundamentalist atheism. I maintain there is a life in Christ that transcends the natural but does not require rejection of reality.

    Grace to you. I do not wish you success in your attempt to extirpate from the body of Christ those honest souls that do not agree with you and your followers but I do pray that you find peace.




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    • @pauluc:

      Thanks for responding. Some people I have met smile wryly when I say I have had a dialog with Sean Pitman about science. It is indeed hard to separate science from religion here.

      Again with the obligatory opening pejoratives. All I’m asking from you is a testable potentially falsifiable hypothesis to support your perspective. I don’t care how brilliant you are or even if you’re a Nobel Laureate. None of it matters when it comes to the topic in play if you don’t really have a testable theory.

      I do apologize if you think my comments have been perjorative that was never their intent.

      Oh please. Of course it was/is your intent… to include your condescending and pejorative comments in this current post of yours – to include all these so-called “appologies”. You simply can’t help yourself. You think you’re right and that I’m painful wrong. That’s Ok. Just admit it. It’s fine to think that you’re right and that I’m way off base in my silly notions of science and religion. I’m the same way. I think I’m clearly in the right and that you’re obviously mistaken. And, that’s fine. It just means that we both have clearly established opinions on this topic. No need for appologies for having a strong opinion. Now, its up to those reading these comments to decide for themselves…

      I apologize if I have offended by my syntheses that you think have been “just so stories”

      I’m not offended by your just-so stories. I appreciate your efforts since they highlight the vacuous nature of the so-called “science” behind these stories. For those reading them, it should become even more clearly evident that they really aren’t valid science. They are nothing more than made up non-testable stories that are no more scientific than fairytales for children.

      I apologize if the deprecation of my expertise in many fields and deference to those with demonstrated expertise is seen as “blind appeals to authority?”

      It is fine if you say that you don’t personally understand a topic, but you think there are those who do. It is another thing entirely for you to claim that you yourself know why a particular argument is mistaken when you really have no clue outside of the fact that someone else also disagrees. Knowing that someone disagrees with me isn’t the same thing as knowing why I’m wrong.

      In short, if all you really have is an argument from authority, say so. That would be more honest in a discussion like this.

      I apologize for not sufficiently privileging limited mathematical models over concrete empirical observations

      The “mathematical models” are based on very solid empirical observations which have very clear implications within the empirical world. You have no countering concrete observations outside of the fact that you will not recognize Dr. Sanford’s position until you see the complete meltdown of the gene pool and a population dying off.

      How is that a scientific position? Science is about predicting the future based on the information that is currently in hand. Science is not about absolute demonstration. If you will not recognize the likely truth of a theory until absolute demonstration is in hand, you’re not doing science. It’s as simple as that.

      I apologize for not seeing the Rohdes model as supporting YEC and for agreeing with the critical analysis of this modelling by Hein
      http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v431/n7008/full/431518a.html#f1

      The mathematical models suggesting a MRCA of all modern humans some 3000 years ago do not in themselves suggest the recent arival of humans on this planet. It only means that modern humans are all very closely related to each other as far as mutational divergence is concerned. That’s all.

      What does strongly support the YLC model, however, is the very strong evidence in support of the rapidly declining quality of the human gene pool (as well as all other slowly reproducing creatures) due an inevitable build up of a large number of detrimental mutations in every individual in every generation.

      The death rate need to remove these mutations as fast as they are entering our gene pool, as already explained to you, is far far too high for humans to achieve.

      You’ve presented counter arguments that are either completely wrong (some sort of intracellular selection mechanism for non-detrimental genes) or statistically irrelevant (gamete selection before fertilization, in-utero selection, and increased genomic deterioration, due to enhanced fixation of detrimental mutations, in very small populations).

      I apologize for not accepting by faith “..the original gene pools were, by necessity, of higher quality than they are today. They had greater higher quality redundancy within their gene pools.” and asking for evidence for a theoretical genetic basis for this or for evidence in the fossil record and ancient DNA sequence.

      This is always the fall-back argument for neo-Darwinists. You all know that the fossil record represents hundreds of millions of years of the evolution of life on this planet. Therefore, any genetic challenge to your interpretation of the fossil record must, by default, be wrong. You may not have any idea how or why the genetic evidence must be wrong, but you are absolutely sure that it is wrong because you know your view of the fossil record is correct.

      The same thing goes for the preservation of soft tissues and protein sequences over many tens of millions of years. Despite the fact that kinetic science has long declared this to be absolutely impossible, the actual finding of such soft tissues in dinosaur bones thought to be 60-80 million years old is used as conclusive evidence that the kinetic models of protein and soft tissue deterioration must somehow be wrong.

      It’s a self-fulfilling non-falsifiable just-so story – not science.

      The fact is that we know that the human gene pool is currently deteriorating. Even you recognize this much. But, the neo-Darwinists declare that this is due to the lack of adequate exposure to natural selection in the modern age.

      There is no attempt to figure out the actual death rate that would be necessary for the forces of natural selection to effectively deal with the detrimental mutation rate. What is your suggested death rate for natural selection to effective do the job? You simply don’t know. You guys present no mathematical models in this regard. You simply present your non-testable just-so stories as fact and hope that no one will notice that you have no actual science to back up your stories.

      I apologize if I have confused people by introducing population size as a critical issue in population genetics or of thinking that recessive genetic diseases, the most common form of monogenic disease dependents on restricted population size and inbreeding for their manifestations. I clearly erroneously thought it was relevant.

      What you’ve not explained is how population size is critical in dealing with this problem? Do you really not undrestand that population size is only critical when it comes to reducing the likelihood of fixation of specific detrimental mutations within the entire population? Do you not realize that preventing the fixation of a specific detrimental mutation has absolutely nothing to do with preventing more and more detrimental muations, of all different kinds, from entering the gene pool faster than they can all be removed?

      Please at least consider that fixation within the gene pool is not relevant here. Not at all. While this problem may be relevant for very small populations (as in your cheetah example) large populations have another problem – the inevitable build-up of many different types of detrimental mutations that, while not becomeing fixed in a very large population, are still rapidly building up over time in every individual in every generation.

      I apologize for my ignorance and that I have not “really understood the statistics of the problem, you’d recognize the futility of your thinking here. You evidently just haven’t sat down and done the math…”

      Where is your math? Where have you presented any statistical model at all for the minimum required death rate to deal with the per generation detrimental mutation rate?

      You really don’t seem to understand the statistical significance of this problem. I’m sorry, but without these models, you’re not dealing with the science behind the issue in play here. No need to appologize. Just do the math.

      I do not mind at all to be thought a foolish buffoon who is merely a “good foil around to highlight the scientific weaknesses of the neo-Darwinian position” as long as even one person sees the lack of imagination in the only 2 options presented here of fundamentalist Christianity or fundamentalist atheism. I maintain there is a life in Christ that transcends the natural but does not require rejection of reality.

      And I’m happy for you and for those who hold to your ideas. However, what is also important, for the purposes of this website anyway, is that many of those who read your posts will see that neo-Darwinism is not much more than smoke and bluster and that theology without an ability to see God’s Signature in nature or in His written Word leads to clearly irrational and self-contradictory conclusions about the nature of God and any hope that faith in God gives us for a fundamentally better future than this world now provides.

      Grace to you. I do not wish you success in your attempt to extirpate from the body of Christ those honest souls that do not agree with you and your followers but I do pray that you find peace.

      Who am I to even attempt to remove anyone from the “body of Christ”? The Seventh-day Adventist Church organization is not “The” body of Christ. Obviously, one does not have to be SDA to be in a saving relationship with God.

      However, if one wants to represent the SDA Church as a paid representative, it is only honest for that individual to actually do what the church is asking him/her to do for the money. Paid representation of the SDA Church is not a right, but a privilage. It is therefore a moral wrong to take money from any organization while undermining what that organization is paying you to do.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @Sean Pitman:
        I for one, want to commend what Sean and PaulUC are doing here. I think this is the true and appropriate response to the “evolution problem” in the church. Compile the data, and have a civil debate about the science. That is the hard work that has been neglected by the church as an organization.

        I know this process is messy and it takes a long time, but it is the only way to truly resolve the issue. Simply calling something a heresy, and firing otherwise qualified and dedicated teachers will convince no one. Rome tried that in the middle ages. It didn’t work then and it won’t work for SDA’s now. Besides, Jesus told us not to do that, Math. 13:30.

        People have accused me of saying the church does not have a right to defend itself. It DOES have a right. The question is what is the proper method.




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        • @Ron:

          I couldn’t agree more with your desire to give the children in our schools full access to all the available information in science.

          The only problem, of course, is that the neo-Darwinists are the ones keeping information out of the classroom. They love to tell their just-so stories and tell their students that their “face tests” are really scientific. They just don’t tell their students the rest of the story – that there really are no testable theories to support their just-so stories. They don’t tell their students about the evidence for catastrophism with the geologic record, kinetic problems with soft tissue preservation for long periods of time, or of the rapid deterioration of slowly reproducing gene pools. It is felt that such things would only “confuse” their students.

          Again, I don’t see how you can possibly argue that an employer doesn’t have the right to expect the employee to do what he/she is being paid to do…

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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    • @pauluc: No offence intended, I apologize, pardon me, but too rarely are we privileged to enjoy such whimsical if not exactly forthright polemic parrhesia as yours. I apologize, pardon me, but it deserves a less perfunctory, and more pejorative, riposte, to begin to be commensurate, than I am giving it, pardon me, forgive me. Pardon me, no offense, but I want to leave plenty of space, and breath, for the line-by-line, more learned, and less rhetorical responses I trust will come.




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  66. Re Bob’s Quote

    “Though Ken argues consistently against any point made or raised by Sean”

    Hi Bob

    Are you sure you are right about that my friend?

    What about my support of the espousal of the Royal Law of Love by Sean?

    In debate, accuracy trumps hyperbole.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  67. Sean Pitman: This is always the fall-back argument for neo-Darwinists. You all know that the fossil record represents hundreds of millions of years of the evolution of life on this planet. Therefore, any genetic challenge to your interpretation of the fossil record must, by default, be wrong. You may not have any idea how or why the genetic evidence must be wrong, but you are absolutely sure that it is wrong because you know your view of the fossil record is correct.

    hmmm – where have we seen that before???

    Oh wait I know! Atheist evolutionists themselves have said this about their own practices and methods.

    Collin Patterson – Paleontologist British Museum of Natural history speaking at the American Museum of Natural History in 1981 – said:

    Patterson – quotes Gillespie’s arguing that Christians
    “‘…holding creationist ideas could plead ignorance of the means and affirm only the fact,'”

    Patterson countered, “That seems to summarize the feeling I get in talking to evolutionists today. They plead ignorance of the means of transformation, but affirm only the fact: ‘Yes it has…we know it has taken place.'”

    “…Now I think that many people in this room would acknowledge that during the last few years, if you had thought about it at all, you’ve experienced a shift from evolution as knowledge to evolution as faith. I know that’s true of me, and I think it’s true of a good many of you in here…

    “…,Evolution not only conveys no knowledge, but seems somehow to convey anti-knowledge , apparent knowledge which is actually harmful to systematics…”

    in Christ,

    Bob




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      • @Ron:

        You just said, in this same thread, that you don’t have the relevant background in genetics to adequately evaluate Sanford’s position – beyond your very scientific “face test” of course. How then can you say that you understand the neo-Darwinian mechanisms in play “quite well”? More “face tests”?

        If you understand the mechanisms so well, please do explain them to me. How is the very high detrimental rate of mutations in slowly reproducing mammals effectively solved by “the mechanisms”? How are any novel functional systems beyond those that require a minimum of 1000 specifically arranged residues produced by “the mechanisms”? Surely you know the answers to these things since you understand “the mechanisms” so well…

        Sean Pitman
        http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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        • @Sean Pitman: “If you understand the mechanisms so well, please do explain them to me.”

          Your current argument is based on statistical arguments. I am not enough of a mathematician to comment on your current discussion. So I won’t.

          I do see evolution happening in many places by many mechanisms. I can list a few, but before I do, let me ask you, what is your definition of evolution. I keep offering examples looking for some common ground from which to start a discussion. If you don’t accept the examples that Darwin himself used, like the finches, then it seems to me that you must be talking about something other than Darwinian evolution.

          1. The HIV virus evolves through a sloppy reverse transcriptase that has an extremely high rate of error. Again, without trying to get into your argument, to a non-mathematician this seems like an example that would disprove Dr. Sanford’s theory, since HIV’s mutation rate is exceedingly high, and so far we see no sign of a genetic meltdown.

          2. Antibodies in the blood are created by the generation of random segments on the variable chain, then the thymus exerts a selective pressure by killing all the lymphocytes that produce antibodies that happen to match the HLA antigens.

          3. Large mammals of different species can pass genes between species through hybrids. For example the horse and the donkey. They have a common hybrid in the mule. Generally mules are sterile, but occasionally one is fertile. When a Mule is fertile, then it can randomly pass whole chromosomes between species just like any other pairing within a species.

          4. Ideas in my shop evolve through a process of intelligent design. (At least I hope there is some intelligence.) I come up with a solution to a problem, I build something that I think will work, and as I am in the process of building it, I often get ideas about how to make it better, so over time, it continues to evolve to be more functional and higher quality.

          5. Nylonase Gene, I’m not sure, I think the bacteria copied and combined nonfunctional gene fragments.

          6. Sickle Cell trait. It was a single base transcription error. I think there are lots of mechanisms that can do such a thing. I don’t know if we know which one was the actual one. Maybe ionizing radiation?

          7. Cars and other transportation devices evolve through a process of intelligent design responding to the selection pressures of the market.

          8. The shape of the tree out front evolves each year based on selective growth as each leaf tries to optimize it’s sun exposure. Limbs that get more sun grow better.

          9. I heard on the radio today that violent men tend to have higher testosterone levels, and tend to father a higher ratio of males to females, so that creates a selection bias in favor of violent men. I have no idea how accurate the statement is, but it is an example of how pervasive evolutionary principles are.

          10. Relative HIV resistance in humans is conferred on Europeans, compared to Africans, by an increased prevalence of the CCR5 allele which most likely entered the Northern population through a plague, probably viral.

          11. I read recently that there have been identified 38 specific mutations in the Tibetan population that has occurred in the last 3000 years that has allowed their population to escape pressure from the Han Chinese by moving to higher altitudes. I don’t know the mechanisms. But, are you denying that this is evolution?

          12. At one point, humans had the same number of Chromosomes as the chimps, but two of the chromosomes combined into one chromosome, so now Humans have one less chromosome than chimps do. How do you fit that fact into the Biblical narrative? Do you think that the chromosome combination took place some time after creation? I have a hard time imagining God creating us originally with a chromosome with double centrameres and telemeres.

          I would note however that the presence of evolution does not necessarily imply an improvement. Let’s go back to Darwin’s finches. We could imagine an island that had both finches and gross beaks on it at the start. Then some catastrophe destroys all of the gross beaks. Those finches who have larger bills may be more successful at taking advantage of the new ecological niche that opened up, so the finch population evolves toward larger beaks. But that doesn’t mean that the finches are better than the gross beaks were. This would be an example of “devolution” on the larger, island scale, with positive evolution on the smaller, finch, scale. I suspect we will see more and more of this kind of evolution as we kill off more and more of our highly specialized species.




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        • @Ron:

          I do see evolution happening in many places by many mechanisms. I can list a few, but before I do, let me ask you, what is your definition of evolution. I keep offering examples looking for some common ground from which to start a discussion. If you don’t accept the examples that Darwin himself used, like the finches, then it seems to me that you must be talking about something other than Darwinian evolution.

          The Darwinian mechanism for evolution is random genetic mutations combined with mindless natural selection that only acts at the phenotypic level – whereby novel genetic information is added or removed from a given gene pool over time. This mechanism (RM/NS) is real and does produced measurable, but very limited, changes over time. While it can easily remove information from the gene pool, as Sanford describes, and can add novel forms of low-level genetic information, it is unable to produce qualitatively novel systems that require a minimum of more than 1000 specifically arranged amino acid residues (single or multi-protein systems).

          Ironically, many of the examples Darwin himself attributed to his RM/NS mechanism were not really the result of random mutations or anything functionally new being added to the gene pool over time. As already explained for you, Darwin didn’t know about Mendelian variation – a different form of “change over time” that is based on pre-programmed information that already exists within the gene pool which allows for high level variability in different environments. Nothing new is evolved into or out of the gene pool via Mendelian variation. In other words, during Mendelian variation the qualitative information and potential of the gene pool itself does not change at all. It is for this reason that multiple children born to the very same parents (from the very same gene pool) can look very different from their siblings or their parents… not based on any mutational changes to their own genome vs. that of their parents.

          For example, my own brother and I look quite different. He has dark skin and I have light skin. He is very hairy while I am not. He has dark eyes while I have light green eyes. etc. None of these differences between us were the result of mutational changes. They were simply the result of Mendelian variations among the pre-established genetic options within our parental gene pool.

          1. The HIV virus evolves through a sloppy reverse transcriptase that has an extremely high rate of error. Again, without trying to get into your argument, to a non-mathematician this seems like an example that would disprove Dr. Sanford’s theory, since HIV’s mutation rate is exceedingly high, and so far we see no sign of a genetic meltdown.

          You’re forgetting about the reproductive rate aspect of the problem (no doubt because you haven’t really considered the statistics or math involved). Science is based on statistics – on determining the odds that a particular hypothesis is or isn’t correct compared to the null hypothesis. This is why your hunches or “face tests” really aren’t scientific.

          So, even though you don’t seem to like statistics, consider that the HIV virus has an extremely high reproductive rate. It is this very high reproductive rate that allows the HIV population to keep up with its high detrimental mutation rate. The same is not true for slowly reproducing creatures – like humans and all other mammals who do no reproduce remotely fast enough to produce the minimum required per generation death rate needed by natural selection to remove the detrimental mutations as fast as they are entering the gene pool.

          One other caveat here is that not all of the regions of the HIV virus mutate at the same rate. There are certain specific hyper-variable regions that are targeted by antigens that mutate much faster than other regions, but have little to do with the structure and overall function of the HIV virus.

          2. Antibodies in the blood are created by the generation of random segments on the variable chain, then the thymus exerts a selective pressure by killing all the lymphocytes that produce antibodies that happen to match the HLA antigens.

          What is evolving in the immune system? The overall structure and function of the immune cells does not evolve over time and neither do the types of antibodies that are produced. All the major types of immune cells and antibodies are produced before any functional selection takes place. Only after the T-cells are formed do they go to school to be “selected”. Also, this selection process only selects for a very limited ability – the ability to recognize and refrain from attacking self antigens. This particular selection process is very specific and it does not change over time to produce anything new. So, the major differences in antibody specificity that are maintained were all made before any selection process took place.

          As far as the immune system is concerned, the initial action of “selection” and survival of the fittest only narrows the field. It reduces the antibody diversity that was initially created before selection came along.

          This is different from Darwinian-style evolution where the Darwinian mechanism is supposed to create diversity. Selection, in the case of the immune system, does not expand or create more diversity – at least not in the initial steps of immune system education.

          However, B-cell evolution is a bit different. Once a particular B-cell is selected for mass replication, the offspring of that parent cell are not exactly the same. The antibodies that are produced by the offspring B-cells are slightly different – usually in their “hypervariable regions”. These changes are indeed random changes that were not present in the original pool of immune system options. In other words, they are truly new sequences. When the same foreign antigen is encountered again, those slightly different clones of the original B-cell that recognize the antigen better will be preferentially selected, over the siblings that do not have as close a match, to be cloned and produce the offspring of the next generation. In this manner the specificity of immunity will indeed evolve in a stepwise truly Darwinian-style fashion of improvement over time.

          The only difference here is that the antigen template the B-cells are looking to attack, like a specific type of lock, is limited in size and the number of key-code options, if you will. Also, with each additional correct match to a particular antigen code, the B-cell that produces this enhanced matched with be given increased survivability. Very quickly, then, random antibody changes over a few generations of B-cells will come up with an excellent match to the antibody sequence.

          So, yes, this is evolution via RM/NS, but in a very limited restricted sense. For a more detailed discussion of antibody evolution see:

          http://www.detectingdesign.com/immunesystem.html

          3. Large mammals of different species can pass genes between species through hybrids. For example the horse and the donkey. They have a common hybrid in the mule. Generally mules are sterile, but occasionally one is fertile. When a Mule is fertile, then it can randomly pass whole chromosomes between species just like any other pairing within a species.

          Species that can produce viable and/or verile hybrids are actually part of the same gene pool. There are no qualitative functional differences between the gene pools of a horse or a donkey or a mule. The phenotypic differences are the result of differences in the chromosomal arrangements – not in the information carried by the chromosomes.

          As already noted for you, please do read more about this topic at:

          http://www.detectingdesign.com/donkeyshorsesmules.html

          4. Ideas in my shop evolve through a process of intelligent design. (At least I hope there is some intelligence.) I come up with a solution to a problem, I build something that I think will work, and as I am in the process of building it, I often get ideas about how to make it better, so over time, it continues to evolve to be more functional and higher quality.

          Stepwise creation isn’t in question here. Obviously intelligence can create in a stepwise manner. However, such intelligent creativity is not based on random mutations and mindless natural selection… which is the basis of neo-Darwinism.

          5. Nylonase Gene, I’m not sure, I think the bacteria copied and combined nonfunctional gene fragments.

          The nylonase enzyme was originally thought to have evolved via a frameshift mutation in a stretch of DNA coding for a 472aa protein. This frameshift mutation was thought to have been caused by the insertion of a single thymine nucleotide at just the right spot to create a “start codon” and produce an entirely new protein sequence of 392aa (6-aminohexanoic acid linear oligomer hydrolase). Other nylonase proteins have been coded for by as few as 355aa with what seems to be fairly loose minimum sequence specificity. Then, a series of more recent studies by a team led by Seiji Negoro, of the University of Hyogo, Japan, suggest that in fact no frameshift mutation was involved in the evolution of the 6-aminohexanoic acid hydrolase (i.e., Nylonase). However, many other genes have been discovered which did evolve by gene duplication followed by a frameshift mutation affecting at least part of the gene. A 2006 study found 470 examples in humans alone. Scientists have also been able to induce another species of bacteria, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, to evolve the capability to break down the same nylon byproducts in a laboratory by forcing them to live in an environment with no other source of nutrients – using different enzymes than had been utilized by the original Flavobacterium strain.

          In short, there are thousands of such examples of evolution in action published in literature. However, as already explained for you, these are all low levels examples of evolution in action. None of these examples get remotely close to the level of 1000 specifically arranged amino acid residues.

          It is easy to evolve novel single protein enzymes at such low levels of functional complexity because potentially beneficial sequences at such low levels are much more common within low-level sequence space.

          For a more detailed explanation of this topic see:

          http://www.detectingdesign.com/kennethmiller.html#Nylonase

          6. Sickle Cell trait. It was a single base transcription error. I think there are lots of mechanisms that can do such a thing. I don’t know if we know which one was the actual one. Maybe ionizing radiation?

          Sickle cell anemia is the result of a single point mutation in the hemoglobin molecule that cases it to polymerize and become extremely rigid. This is caused by a point mutation in the beta globin gene at position six. As a result of this mutation, valine (a non-polar amino acid) is inserted into the b-globin chain instead of glutamic acid (an electrically charged amino acid). This mutation produces a “sticky” patch on the surface of the b-chains when they are not complexed with oxygen. Because other molecules of sickle cell hemoglobin also develop the sticky patch, they adhere to each other and polymerize into long fibers that distort the RBC into a sickle shape.

          In short, this mutation produces a loss of functionality, not a novel gain in functionality. This loss of functionality is so severe that not even the malaria parasite can live in such conditions (even in individuals with the heterozygous form of this mutation – i.e., those with sickle cell trait).

          This is a classic example of devolution, not evolution, within a gene pool. While a loss of information can sometimes be selectively beneficial in certain environments (as is also true for CCR5 mutations in the environment of HIV), it is still based on a loss of genetic information…

          7. Cars and other transportation devices evolve through a process of intelligent design responding to the selection pressures of the market.

          Again, this is not a form of Darwinian-style evolution since intelligence is involved. Stepwise creation is not the same thing as random genetic mutations and non-intelligent phenotypic selection.

          8. The shape of the tree out front evolves each year based on selective growth as each leaf tries to optimize it’s sun exposure. Limbs that get more sun grow better.

          Nothing new is produced at the genotypic level here. We are talking about functional changes to the gene pool over time…

          9. I heard on the radio today that violent men tend to have higher testosterone levels, and tend to father a higher ratio of males to females, so that creates a selection bias in favor of violent men. I have no idea how accurate the statement is, but it is an example of how pervasive evolutionary principles are.

          Scientists first became aware of this unusual fact – curiously enough – when they began to study men suffering from prostatic cancer. They noticed that individuals with prostate cancer, which itself is strongly linked with high testosterone levels (don’t forget that testosterone is the KEY androgen), tended to have many more male than female children. In whites, men who develop prostate cancer have about 4 per cent more male children, compared to men without prostatic tumours; in blacks, the increase amounts to more than 12 per cent (‘The Hypothesized Hormonal Control of Human Sex Ratio at Birth – an Update,’ Journal of Theoretical Biology, vol. 143, pp. 555-564, 1990).

          So, while testosterone levels do seem to affect the chances of fathering male vs. female children, this is not an example of anything other than increased production of something that already exists within the gene pool. It is not an example of the novel evolution of something qualitatively new within the gene pool.

          10. Relative HIV resistance in humans is conferred on Europeans, compared to Africans, by an increased prevalence of the CCR5 allele which most likely entered the Northern population through a plague, probably viral.

          CCR5 is the main coreceptor on white blood cells targeted by the HIV virus. CCR5 is mainly expressed in memory T-cells, macrophages, and immature dendritic cells, and is upregulated by proinflammatory cytokines. It is coupled to the Gi class of heterotrimeric G-proteins, and inhibits cAMP production, stimulates Ca2+ release, and activates PI3-kinase and MAP kinases, as well as other tyrosine kinase cascades. A mutant allele of CCR5, CCR5 delta 32 is frequent in populations of European origin, and encodes a nonfunctional truncated protein that is not transported to the cell surface. Homozygotes for the delta 32 allele exhibit a strong, although incomplete, resistance to HIV infection, whereas heterozygotes display delayed progression to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

          This mutant form of CCR5 is the result of a random germline mutation, not the result of transmission via a viral plague. It has been hypothesized that this allele was favored by natural selection during outbreaks of smallpox (not the Black Death).

          Why might this be? Well, the mutation(s) that disrupt normal CCR5 functionality, while having a negative effect upon overall T cell function, appear to protect against smallpox and HIV. Yersinia pestis (the bubonic plague bacterium) was demonstrated in the laboratory not to associate with CCR5. Individuals with the non-functional Δ32 allele of CCR5 are disproportionately at higher risk of contracting the West Nile virus.

          In any case, like the evolution of antibiotic resistance, the evolution of viral resistance is relatively easy to achieve in a short amount of time because such forms of evolution are based on the disruption of a pre-established interaction. It is much easier to break something that was previously working just fine (like the CCR5 co-receptor protein) via a random mutation(s) compared to trying to evolve a novel system of function.

          This is what makes the evolution of antiviral and antibiotic resistance such a problem in the medical community.

          For more information on this topic see:

          http://www.detectingdesign.com/antibioticresistance.html

          11. I read recently that there have been identified 38 specific mutations in the Tibetan population that has occurred in the last 3000 years that has allowed their population to escape pressure from the Han Chinese by moving to higher altitudes. I don’t know the mechanisms. But, are you denying that this is evolution?

          As I’ve already explained to you in this very same thread, it seems that a modification of just one gene is primarily responsible for the enhanced ability of Tibetans to tolerate high altitudes (EPAS1). This EPAS1 gene is thought to affect red blood cell production. It happens to be present in both the Han (low altitude) as well as the Tibetan (high altitude) populations. It is just that this gene is present in only 9% of the Han population, but is found in 87% of the Tibetan population.

          “It is the fastest change in the frequency of a mutation described in humans,” said Professor Nielsen.

          So, the evolution responsible for this particular effect is two fold. First, it involved a mutation that enhanced a pre-existing function of red blood cell production. It did not produce a novel type of function that did not already exist. It just increased the amount of what already existed. Such mutations are quite common and are very rapidly evolved via random mutations to pre-existing systems.

          Once realized, this beneficial mutation will indeed spread fairly rapidly throughout the population… as is clearly evident in many such examples.

          None of this, however, discounts or significantly mitigates the reality that detrimental mutations are still building up in all human populations far far faster than they can be removed by natural selection – even in Tibetans. The reason for this is that detrimental mutations greatly outpace the rate of such beneficial mutations (to include reversion mutations). We are all, therefore, rapidly heading downhill toward the eventual and inevitable extinction of the entire human race.

          12. At one point, humans had the same number of Chromosomes as the chimps, but two of the chromosomes combined into one chromosome, so now Humans have one less chromosome than chimps do. How do you fit that fact into the Biblical narrative? Do you think that the chromosome combination took place some time after creation? I have a hard time imagining God creating us originally with a chromosome with double centrameres and telemeres.

          Sure. This mutation could easily have taken place during a population bottleneck – as is the case for donkeys vs. horses. It is really functionally irrelevant as it does not add or take away any functional element from the gene pool.

          For more information on this topic see:

          http://www.detectingdesign.com/pseudogenes.html#Fusion

          I would note however that the presence of evolution does not necessarily imply an improvement. Let’s go back to Darwin’s finches. We could imagine an island that had both finches and gross beaks on it at the start. Then some catastrophe destroys all of the gross beaks. Those finches who have larger bills may be more successful at taking advantage of the new ecological niche that opened up, so the finch population evolves toward larger beaks. But that doesn’t mean that the finches are better than the gross beaks were. This would be an example of “devolution” on the larger, island scale, with positive evolution on the smaller, finch, scale. I suspect we will see more and more of this kind of evolution as we kill off more and more of our highly specialized species.

          This isn’t an example of the evolution of anything new within gene pools at all (neither a gain or a loss). The extinction of one gene pool did not add or take away genetic information from the other gene pool. Again, this illustration of yours would be an example of Mendelian variation – not the same thing as Darwinian evolution.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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        • @Sean Pitman:
          Thanks for the link to this post from the other thread, I had indeed missed this post. (I just hope I can find the one that had the link again.)
          And I freely admit to being a little dense and methodical, so I appreciate your patience.

          I notice that Mendelson’s work was not published until 1866, and was pretty much ignored until it was rediscovered in 1900. Whereas Darwin’s book was published in 1859. I agree that the finches beaks, if not strictly Mendelian, then at least they are the result of multigenetic variations which does not add anything new to the genetic library.

          Darwin however, did not have access to Mendelson’s work when he wrote, and Darwin obviously considered the finches beaks to be an example of evolution, so why do you exclude Mendelian genetics from Darwinian evolution? I would think that you would have to include Mendelian variations as one of many mechanisms that accounts for Darwinian evolution. I know, it doesn’t add any new genetic ability, and it doesn’t account for “amoeba to horse evolution”, but it at least accounts for the finches beaks. It just seems more logical than to deny evolution altogether as Bob and Bill do, it would be better, to say, yes of course there is evolution. It just can’t replace God. (I think you actually do say that. I think it is Bob, Faith, and Hope and Bill who are still giving mixed messages about whether evolution has a place.)

          I am not sure exactly when 2SM was written, but probably before 1900. So presumably when Mrs. White said that “theistic evolution” was the worst infidelity, she had in mind all forms of evolution which would have included any form of evolution attributed to Mendelian genetics as well, since she was referencing Darwin’s theory, and Darwin’s theory was based primarily on Mendelian variation. Why is it that people who otherwise are quite literal in their interpretations, suddenly exclude Mendelian inheritance from Mrs. White’s statement?

          To draw from Bob’s reasoning that 6 days have to be literal because the author considered them to be literal. By the same reasoning Mrs. Whites statement about evolution would have to include Mendelian genetics as infidelity because Mendelian genetics are the cause of the kind of evolution Mrs. White was talking about, i.e. Darwin’s finches.

          One of the main arguments between creationists and evolutionists is over the fixedness of species. At least in the mid 1800’s creationists and evolutionists both thought that if the fixedness of species were abandoned or proved false, that it would falsify Genesis and prove God was excluded from the process. I think that is and was a false dichotomy. I think that Mrs. White’s statements about amalgamation, (yes, it referred to interbreeding of son’s of Seth with the daughters of Cain, but it also references animals) proves that Mrs. White did not believe in the fixedness of species, thereby validating the idea that fixedness of species is not determinative as to whether or not God was the creator.

          So, if Mrs. White wasn’t concerned about the fixedness of species, then what difference does it make by what mechanisms species are not fixed? As you noted in your article about the donkeys and horses it is very difficult to define a distinct boundary. So why try? I don’t think it really makes any difference to the question of creation. Obviously God could have created all the species capable of interbreeding as well as he could have created all species incapable of any interbreeding at all, or any combination he wants.

          Is it really so vile to accept that Darwin saw what he saw and agreeing with the fact of evolution without buying into the argument that the existence of evolution somehow disproves creation?

          Just for the sake of argument, if it could somehow in the future be proved that there are biological systems not yet discovered that would allow organisms to reach your somewhat arbitrary 1000aa level of specificity, would that prove that God didn’t create the whole kit and caboodle 6000 years ago? I don’t think so. Would you really give up belief in God if that threshold were somehow reached?




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      • @Ron:

        My posts here of late seem to be getting lost in cyberspace – so not sure this one will make it. But in case it does — I would note that our friend Patterson commented on this statement years later – affirming the point “again”.

        How is it that when disconfirming summations arise within the evolutionist’s own camp they keep insisting that those summations are “no longer true” unless repeated each year?

        faith?

        in Christ,

        Bob




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        • @BobRyan:
          “How is it that when disconfirming summations arise within the evolutionist’s own camp they keep insisting that those summations are “no longer true”

          It is called, “Present Truth”. Science keeps moving on. Every day we know more than we did the day before.




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  68. Re Sean’s Quote

    “Indeed. Ken has been most agreeable. On several topics he has agreed with comments posted by me and other conservative SDAs. Just because he doesn’t always agree doesn’t mean that he never agrees or that he isn’t open to at least considering opposing ideas.”

    Hi Sean

    Thank you my friend.

    And may I say politely to our friend Bob, that I see the great value and need, for which I have advocated, the furtherance of pursuing Intelligent Design. It matters not to me that others try to marginalize it as non – science or see it as a covert cover for creationism. I think one can investigate and look for design without presuming there is one, or the ultimate nature of it. And I think Dr. Pitman has eloquently and convincingly argued the case for it. Perhaps an agnostic and YLC make strange allies in this regard but if it is in the honest pursuit of truth is that not a good thing?

    Perhaps we are all part of a far greater design that we cannot fathom at this time. And perhaps the Royal Law of Love is the key that will eventually unlock minds and hearts to perceive or glimpse it. You see Bob, I respect you for your deep faith and conviction, but I exalt the loving treatment of humanity no matter what doctrinal robe one wears. If I am wrong in all this then I justly deserve the lake of fire and accept that fate. But if I am right I must work very hard without any possibilty of immortality to love.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  69. A Gazillion Giggles

    Although on our ontological fannies we sit
    We are always entertained by Kimean wit
    Did the Designer weave humour into the Mix
    If so, breathlessly I await my Kimean fix.

    To Wes, from
    His whimsical friend
    Ken




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    • @Ken:
      A recent post stated: ““Ken argues consistently against any point made or raised by Sean”

      On the two occasions, of, first, your being called out again for scuffing every point Dr. Pitman makes, and, second, your again exercising your outreach ministry to invite me into our poet’s corner, it is my privilege, on behalf of myself, not the management, probably only by indulgence of the management, to present to you this teak-backed brass plaque of appreciation. The award reads as follows:

      “In recognition of his faithfulness (even a touch of subliminal faith), in all things, to wit, 1) his wit. 2) His attendance record here, so faithful as to qualify as loyalty. Having seen him around for over two years, the presenter has grown accustomed to his face, seeking it out first among the postings as for truffles in pasta. 3) His reassuringly dependable Pavlovian Platonic agnosticism doing just what the Agnostic Great Commission prescribes, to behave agnostically, scattering question marks about like a nymph scattering petals in May. So what else is new? Does not a pip squeak? Does not an Erv taylor? (Hi, Erv.) 4) His exemplary, unruffled friendliness, courtliness, and politeness (only rarely lapsing, as in painting Hiram Edson ‘disgruntled’), being, as determined by peer review and statistical analysis and Standard Deviation, more often sympathetic with, and respectful of, Dr. Pitman’s purpose, goals, mode, thoroughness and invincibility of evidence, scientific methodology, essay style (its clarity and certainty), patience and persistence, personality and persona, than is the whole spectrum of our own Christian [sic] Agnostic Postadventists.” He can’t be all bad.

      Now, as requested, today’s bit of sacerdotal Ogden Nashry:

      Like a medicine a mirthful heart and laugh
      Doeth good, even doeth did in Gilgameshrymaff.
      That medicinal effect our prescribing God saw,
      Was a smile, flashing teeth, but not a guffaw.




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  70. Re Bob’s Quote

    “The Bible explains disease and death as the consequence of choosing to side against our Creator – and choosing rather to side with those in rebellion against Him.”

    Hi Bob

    Thanks for your comments.

    I understand from a faith paradigm the explanation for disease and death. What is the explanation in science? You are very big on what can be observed and tested in nature. What is the scientific case, observable, testable, potentially falsifiable, for life ever existing without death and disease?

    I know of none, do you?

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  71. Re Kimean Wonderland

    “Gilgameshrymaff” ! Not only Lewis Carrol posthumously, but Erv Taylor presently, is sure to laugh!

    What a tasty tidbit of wit to savour while I sit. I don’t want to be cocky but surely this confection doth rival jabberwocky.

    Dear Wes, I shall honour my new cyber plaque amongst my prized,intangible possessions. It is those that know no depreciation.

    With great appreciation,
    Just Ken




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  72. @ken Of course the creationists on this site are big on seeking out evidence but some things can not be tested. But not all historical things have evidence that can be tested or falsified. If you take the Bible as a whole, there is evidence that it can be trusted. How would someone know what I did this morning? What evidence is there? You could talk to the people I interacted with at church but it couldn’t be tested or falsified.

    I have found evidence that the Bible is God’s word and it can be trusted and it said this.

    While it is true that some Christians do not looked into issues of evidence and reason, that is not true of the people that frequent this blog. Like Dr. Ben Carson we have come to the conclusion that the preponderance of evidence is with the Bible account and that evolution requires too much faith for us to believe. Why is it friend that you are so determined to doubt and to get us to also?

    Your friend -Shining




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  73. Re Shining’S Quote

    “Why is it friend that you are so determined to doubt and to get us to also? ”

    Hello Shining

    That is an excellent question to which I do not have a short answer. But I can start with the last part of it. I am not determined to get any of you to doubt. I am not trying to convert anyone to agnosticism. I believe everyone of free will should choose their faith or non faith without duress or restriction.

    As for myself, as the wise Dr. Kime has noted, asking questions is liking ringing a bell in front of Pavlov’s dog, although I see myself more like Socrates hound. I subscribe to the dialectical method as the best way to investigate ontological matters.

    But is not an idle, pointless pursuit. It is a constant life long investigation of the fabric and nature of God or lack thereof. I have learned so much and am extremely grateful to my friends for the dialouge. I feel that I have made and am making great progress, especially regarding the notion of ID.

    Regarding faith it is not so much what one believes but why one believes it that is my question. Everyone, even ardent conservative Adventists tend to believe different things. If the truth about God is absolute, why? Could it be that no one knows the absolute truth? And if so why would that not include the many individuals that wrote and interpret the Bible? And if no one knows the absolute truth, except an omniscient being- don’t know anyone like that, although there is the odd person on this forum that appear to express omniscient opinions 🙂 – then isn’t it incumbent to continue to search for same?

    Sorry for the long winded answer but I felt I owed that to you as a result of your kind inquiry.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  74. Re Sean’s Quote

    “Yes. A God who is learning as he goes along is not really a God at all. He just a more advanced form of human, subject to time and place just as we are. He is also not the creator of everything if he is subject to our time frame. ”

    Hi Sean

    That is an interesting perspective but is does posit another scenario for ID, one to which you have alluded. That the designer, or design, of this universe is not the work of the ultimate God, but of a lesser, or imperfect, being or force. That would certainly solve most of the problems of theodicy.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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    • @ken:

      While certain phenomena that are clearly designed do not require a God-like intelligence to explain, other features do require a level of intelligence that we, from our finite perspective, cannot distinguish from that of a God or God-like creative power.

      This is aside from the fact that if anyone is limited by time and/or place, that individual is not, by definition, omnipotent and therefore cannot truly be the Christian-style God.

      The God of the Bible claims to be the One who made the universe and life on this planet. He also claims to be omnipotent in every way – all knowing, all powerful, all present, and eternal. Since we are finite, we cannot comprehend such infinities. The only thing we can know is that someone with powers indistinguishable from our perspective as those belonging to a God is required to explain not only the origin of our universe and life on this planet, but the origin of Biblical prophecies that cannot be rationally explained by anyone who is bound by our time frame. In other words, the power to so clearly and accurately know the far distant future of events in our world in such detail requires such a being to exist outside of our dimension of time.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  75. Re Theodicy Primer

    For the readers

    Please see link below as a thumbnail resource on theodicy. I think Adventists likely fall into the Augustinian camp in this regard.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augustinian_theodicy

    My point if that there does not appear to be a scientific, empirical case for theodicy, but rather it is a matter of faith. Nothing wrong with that, just an observation.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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    • @ken:

      Not when you add Biblical prophecy to the equation. Biblical prophecy cannot be rationally explained by anyone who is bound by our time frame. It can only be explained by someone who has a unique freedom we do not have and cannot have – freedom to live outside of time.

      Only a God would be able to do that. In fact, the God of the Bible constantly points to his ability to perfectly know the outcome of events still in our future as the greatest evidence of His Divine nature… of being God.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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    • @ken: EVERYTHING in life is part faith, some more than others. Faith in teachers,magazines, measuring equipment,tools, furniture, computers, etc. A few things are almost all faith, a few heavily evidenced. Personally I consider that Gen 1-11 has so much evidence and that neo-Darwinian deep time has so many overwhelming difficulties that it is hard to understand how people blessed with a lot of brain matter actually go for the evo model. There are other aspects of my relation to God that take a lot more faith, like He that has begun a good work in me will carry it on to completion. PTL

      -Shining




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  76. Innumerable are the erroneous doctrines and fanciful ideas that are obtaining among the churches of Christendom. It is impossible to estimate the evil results of removing one of the landmarks fixed by the word of God. Few who venture to do this, stop with the rejection of a single truth. The majority continue to set aside one after another of its principles, until they become actual infidels. {4SP 348.4}
    And this is the object which Satan seeks to accomplish. There is nothing that he desires more than to destroy confidence in God and in his word. Satan stands at the head of the great army of doubters, and he works to the utmost of his power to beguile souls into his ranks. It is becoming fashionable to doubt. There are many who seem to feel that it is a virtue to stand on the side of unbelief, skepticism, and infidelity. But underneath an appearance of candor and humility, it will be found that such persons are actuated by self-confidence and pride. It is a terrible thing to lose faith in God or in his word. Unbelief strengthens as it is encouraged. There is danger in even once giving expression to doubt; a seed is sown which produces a harvest of its kind. Satan will nourish the crop every moment. Those who allow themselves to talk of their doubts will find them constantly becoming more confirmed. God will never remove every occasion for doubt. He will never work a miracle to remove unbelief when he has given sufficient evidence for faith. {4SP 349.1}

    -Shining




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  77. Ron,

    You wrote (Link):

    I notice that Mendelson’s work was not published until 1866, and was pretty much ignored until it was rediscovered in 1900. Whereas Darwin’s book was published in 1859. I agree that the finches beaks, if not strictly Mendelian, then at least they are the result of multigenetic variations which does not add anything new to the genetic library.

    Well, at least we are on common ground so far regarding Mendel’s work and its unique difference from the Darwinian view of change over time… i.e., Mendelian variation is not based on any change to the underlying gene pool of options. In other words, the underlying gene pool remains static during Mendelian variation.

    Darwin however, did not have access to Mendelson’s work when he wrote, and Darwin obviously considered the finches beaks to be an example of evolution, so why do you exclude Mendelian genetics from Darwinian evolution?

    Because, Mendel was right and Darwin was wrong when it came to understanding what was responsible for the changes in phenotypic appearance of certain biological features over time. Mendel knew that these changes were the result of pre-programmed codes for variability that were predictable and limited. Darwin did not understand this at all. He thought that all changes over time were the result of random “insensible gradations” that could add up to produce more and more changes without end. He was mistaken.

    I would think that you would have to include Mendelian variations as one of many mechanisms that accounts for Darwinian evolution.

    Nope. Mendelian variation is uniquely different from Darwinian evolution since the underlying mechanism is completely different. Mendelian variation is based on a static underlying gene pool that does not change over time. Darwinian evolution is based on a changing underlying gene pool that is uniquely different compared to the parental gene pool.

    I know, it doesn’t add any new genetic ability, and it doesn’t account for “amoeba to horse evolution”, but it at least accounts for the finches beaks.

    That’s right. A form of Mendelian-style variation accounts for finch beaks just fine without any need for novel genetic mutations or functionality entering or leaving the gene pool. This is what makes the Darwinian mechanism of unique random mutations to the underlying gene pool unnecessary in the presence of pre-programmed variables.

    Another term for this concept is “front-loaded” information. The potential for Mendelian-style variation is based on preformed or front-loaded information that was always present in the gene pool from the very beginning.

    This is not the case for modern neo-Darwinian ideas about evolution where the original gene pool was much much smaller and simpler and then grew in diversity and complexity over time…

    These ideas are based on very very different mechanisms and should not be clumped together as the same thing. They aren’t the same thing at all. In fact, if Mendel’s correct view of genetics had become more well known before Darwin came along, Darwin’s ideas would probably not have become popular like they did.

    It just seems more logical than to deny evolution altogether as Bob and Bill do, it would be better, to say, yes of course there is evolution. It just can’t replace God. (I think you actually do say that. I think it is Bob, Faith, and Hope and Bill who are still giving mixed messages about whether evolution has a place.)

    You shouldn’t clump all creationists together either. The science behind creationism and intelligent design is far more sophisticated than what you might hear from those who have had little education or background in the field of genetics or biology in general.

    I am not sure exactly when 2SM was written, but probably before 1900. So presumably when Mrs. White said that “theistic evolution” was the worst infidelity, she had in mind all forms of evolution which would have included any form of evolution attributed to Mendelian genetics as well, since she was referencing Darwin’s theory, and Darwin’s theory was based primarily on Mendelian variation. Why is it that people who otherwise are quite literal in their interpretations, suddenly exclude Mendelian inheritance from Mrs. White’s statement?

    Mrs. White was very specific in the type of evolution she excluded. She specifically talked about the error of the concept of living things evolving from simpler organisms or life existing on this planet for millions of years. She wrote about things devolving, getting worse over time since the Fall and especially since the Flood. Here is what she wrote:

    It is true that remains found in the earth testify to the existence of men, animals, and plants much larger than any now known. These are regarded as proving the existence of vegetable and animal life prior to the time of the Mosaic record. But concerning these things Bible history furnishes ample explanation. Before the Flood the development of vegetable and animal life was immeasurably superior to that which has since been known. At the Flood the surface of the earth was broken up, marked changes took place, and in the re-formation of the earth’s crust were preserved many evidences of the life previously existing. The vast forests buried in the earth at the time of the Flood, and since changed to coal, form the extensive coal fields, and yield the supplies of oil that minister to our comfort and convenience today. These things, as they are brought to light, are so many witnesses mutely testifying to the truth of the word of God.

    Akin to the theory concerning the evolution of the earth is that which attributes to an ascending line of germs, mollusks, and quadrupeds the evolution of man, the crowning glory of the creation.

    When consideration is given to man’s opportunities for research; how brief his life; how limited his sphere of action; how restricted his vision; how frequent and how great the errors in his conclusions, especially as concerns the events thought to antedate Bible history; how often the supposed deductions of science are revised or cast aside; with what readiness the assumed period of the earth’s development is from time to time increased or diminished by millions of years; and how the theories advanced by different scientists conflict with one another, — considering all this, shall we, for the privilege of tracing our descent from germs and mollusks and apes, consent to cast away that statement of Holy Writ, so grand in its simplicity, “God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him”? Genesis 1:27. Shall we reject that genealogical record, — prouder than any treasured in the courts of kings, — “which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God”? Luke 3:38.

    Rightly understood, both the revelations of science and the experiences of life are in harmony with the testimony of Scripture to the constant working of God in nature.

    Ellen G. White, Education (Mountain View, California: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1952), pp. 128-134.

    Especially consider the passage where she says, “considering all this, shall we, for the privilege of tracing our descent from germs and mollusks and apes, consent to cast away that statement of Holy Writ, so grand in its simplicity, “God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him? – Genesis 1:27.”

    Mrs. White is not talking about Mendelian variation here. After all, Mendelian variation is what was responsible for the significant phenotypic differences in her own children… and in the differences of all the dog breeds and breeds of cattle (etc) that existed in her own day. She wasn’t speaking about this type of variability at all…

    One of the main arguments between creationists and evolutionists is over the fixedness of species. At least in the mid 1800′s creationists and evolutionists both thought that if the fixedness of species were abandoned or proved false, that it would falsify Genesis and prove God was excluded from the process. I think that is and was a false dichotomy. I think that Mrs. White’s statements about amalgamation, (yes, it referred to interbreeding of son’s of Seth with the daughters of Cain, but it also references animals) proves that Mrs. White did not believe in the fixedness of species, thereby validating the idea that fixedness of species is not determinative as to whether or not God was the creator.

    Mrs. White believed in the fixity of “kinds” of animals – not well defined by the modern concept of “species” since species are not defined by qualitatively unique gene pools.

    Gene pools that are qualitatively unique, beyond low levels of functional complexity, cannot naturally mix or hybridize (outside of deliberate genetic engineering by high level intelligent design and technology that is).

    As you noted in your article about the donkeys and horses it is very difficult to define a distinct boundary. So why try? I don’t think it really makes any difference to the question of creation. Obviously God could have created all the species capable of interbreeding as well as he could have created all species incapable of any interbreeding at all, or any combination he wants.

    The boundaries of hybridization are the same boundaries of Darwinian evolution. Determining these boundaries highlights the point where intelligent design is obviously required to explain the functional differences between qualitatively unique gene pools and even genetic elements within a gene pool.

    Without this evidence you can say that you believe in the existence a God and that your God was responsible for the creation of life on this planet. However, without some empirical evidence in support, this statement of faith would have no more rational convincing power behind it than the claim of someone to believe that the Flying Spaghetti Monster or Santa Claus or garden fairies did it all…

    Is it really so vile to accept that Darwin saw what he saw and agreeing with the fact of evolution without buying into the argument that the existence of evolution somehow disproves creation?

    Again, it is the existence of any mindless mechanism that could produce all the features of living things that would remove the necessity of any kind of intelligence to explain their origin.

    That’s the problem. It is for this reason, also, that Darwin became an atheist. It is also for this reason that many modern neo-Darwinists are also atheists or agnostics.

    The philosophical implications of neo-Darwinism basically means that whatever God you might believe in does not act in a detectable manner on this Earth or in this universe. According to William Provine, such a God simply isn’t worth having.

    William Provine, late professor of biological sciences at Cornell University, gave a very interesting speech for a 1998 Darwin Day keynote address. As part of this speech he explained:

    Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly.

    • No gods worth having exist;
    • No life after death exists;
    • No ultimate foundation for ethics exists;
    • No ultimate meaning in life exists; and
    • Human free will is nonexistent.

    Provine also wrote, “In other words, religion is compatible with modern evolutionary biology (and indeed all of modern science) if the religion is effectively indistinguishable from atheism.”

    Academe January 1987, pp.51-52

    So, you now understand why Darwin left the idea of God behind. It only makes rational sense once you accept the neo-Darwinian idea that an apparently mindless mechanism can explain all that you see. That the hand of a God is not rationally or empirically detectable in any aspect of nature… not even living things.

    Just for the sake of argument, if it could somehow in the future be proved that there are biological systems not yet discovered that would allow organisms to reach your somewhat arbitrary 1000aa level of specificity, would that prove that God didn’t create the whole kit and caboodle 6000 years ago? I don’t think so. Would you really give up belief in God if that threshold were somehow reached?

    Yes. If it could be shown how any mindless naturalistic mechanism could explain the existence of higher levels of functional complexity of evolving life forms over hundreds of millions of years, I would certainly no longer accept the Christian view of God as remotely valid or empirically rational. I would leave the SDA Church as well as Christianity behind.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  78. Re Sean’s Quote

    “Biblical prophecy cannot be rationally explained by anyone who is bound by our time frame.”

    Hi Sean

    I understand and appreciate that SOP is a sine qua nom of Adventist belief.

    I suppose if it was plain to everyone that such prophecies plainly came true (without symbolic interpretation) it is arguable that the Bible is the Word of God.

    There are of course other forms of prophecies (Nostradamus for example). The question is are any scientifically verifiable or are all open to interpretation?

    Y9our agnostic friend
    Ken




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    • @ken:

      Some people can reject their own existence. However, for those who really do want to know the truth, I dare say that for those who candidly consider the evidence for Biblical prophecy, it is quite clear that it is real and it is Supernatural in origin. Many of them are very precise and unambiguous in their prediction and fulfillment of historical events that were predicted far in advance.

      The “prophecies” of Nostradamus, in comparison, are too vague to be meaningful in this regard, having multiple potential applications for common events repeated throughout history, and therefore cannot be consistently tested against real history.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @Sean Pitman:
        Sean, The problem with this assertion is that there is no way to know if the prophecy is being properly interpreted, or even that it isn’t a lie as the prophet who was killed by the lion found out, until the prophecy is fulfilled. A good example is the second coming of Christ. The church has been predicting his soon return for 2000 years now. While the prophecy, at least for believers, is no doubt true, it is totally unhelpful in any meaningful predictive way.




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        • @Ron:

          The credibility of prophecies concerning the Second Coming of Jesus, an event yet in the future, is based on the credibility of other prophecies that have been fulfilled to the letter – such as the thousands of very specific Biblical prophecies dealing with the First Coming of Jesus. The First Coming was fulfilled exactly when, where, and how it was predicted, as was Jesus’ death (to the day) hundreds of years before He came, lived, and died. A great many features of His life and death were predicted and were fulfilled to the letter. That produces a lot of confidence when it comes to Biblical claims regarding His second coming.

          It is because of the obvious fulfillment of such amazing prophecies, and they are numerous, that those Biblical prophecies that are yet to be fulfilled gain a great deal of predictive value.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  79. @Dr. Pitman
    You know what I think? I think you did not think through what you said about some of us. While my name was not mentioned, it is true I would NEVER, NOT EVER, say I believe in Darwinian evolution. Do I believe in fixity of species? NO. Do I believe that changes are happening in plants and animals? YES. So why wouldn’t I join those who say they believe in Darwinian Evolution? The reason is that almost all people of all ranges of education and area of studies would think I meant millions of years of random mutation that changed into the diversity of the biome as it is in the fossil record and life still on planet earth.

    Not only did you not understand or respect some of us who won’t say those words but you implied that, you know, we are lacking in ability to perceive the truth of the matter because our training has not been in medicine and/or biology. It is possible that you don’t realize that there is more than one way to become knowledgable concerning the earth and its origins. I have been tracking this subject for over 35 years: reading books, watching tapes, attending seminars, discussing with others who do the same. One would think, since you know how many with advanced science degrees have thrown over all reason to defend their religious evolutionary faith, that you would know that attending science classes does not insure logical conclusions in this area. One also gets the impression that you think God left matters so vague that only a few that are specially trained can get an accurate picture of this important topic.

    I must say I did not expect to ever disagree with you in a significant way. I am very disappointed. I think you owe the Bible believing writers on this blog an apology. Ya blew this one.

    -Shining

    BTW for the record – if I saw a real link between major kinds I would not be surprised. Considering what we can now do with DNA and the intelligence of those before the flood, the thing that surprises me is that we really haven’t found any. Also if there were crosses currently developing between kinds, that would not throw me either. God meant for there to be no sin, pain, or death but there is. What might be able to happen is not what did happen in the beginning. However, I do not think, with all the fossils that are in all the museums, that the evos are ever gonna’ provide reasonable evidence for much of anything.

    When I started attending public college (I have 2 teaching credentials and 2 M.A.s in education), I tho’t that when I heard the evo line it would make sense to anyone who did not have faith in the Bible. Imagine my shock when I started hearing the mishmash of ideas that do not peacefully coexist with each other, let alone actually being evident in the earth. I tho’t it was because I was attending a small school so I began to study what the leaders in the various fields said. No logic, no agreement, no sense, no way.




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    • @-Shining:

      You’re shooting yourself in the foot by refusing to admit the existence of any form of Darwinian evolution. The fact of the matter is that the Darwinian mechanism of RM/NS is real and it does work to produce limited changes in living things over time. This is a directly observable fact. To deny this reality is to simply needlessly shoot yourself in the foot.

      It is far better to be honest and simply admit the existence of limited forms of Darwinian-style evolution, but note that the creative potential of these forms of evolution is extremely limited to very low levels of functional complexity…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @Sean, I freely state that I think there has not only been a great deal of variation since creation of life about 6,000 years ago, but that there has been some assisted and some unassisted mutation. I am not even sure that the mutations were only minor before the flood. Maybe in the early days when life was more vibrant, more was permitted by God to show another aspect of the results of sin. But I consider calling that “Darwinian” fraught with danger of being misunderstood. I can tell you that the teachers I worked with in public school would take that as support to some degree of deep time, death before the arrival of humans, and fudging on my support of Gen 1 and 2.




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        • @-Shining:

          If you don’t give your opponents any credit for getting anything right, even those points where they are actually right, you actually loose ground on your own position.

          The fact is, yet again, that Darwin did in fact get some things right. It is therefore appropriate to recognize this fact. However, it is also appropriate to point out what Darwin got wrong – the limits of Darwinian-style evolution.

          You loose nothing by being honest in a discussion or debate with those whom you are debating…

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @ Sean,
        It is because of my interactions with teachers of various degrees of agreement with Darwinian evolution that keeps me from ascribing that term to my views. But as best as I can tell, your views and mine are quite similar – with mine additionally including that God could have allowed a lot to happen before the flood that we don’t see now. I do not think some crosses between kinds then, would contradict the Bible account any more than a mule or a hinny does now. However, as I stated before, with the multitude of fossils now residing in museums, it does not appear that there are any real crosses between groups in ancient times, let alone step-by-step alterations, even of an assisted sort.




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        • @-Shining:

          What other term do you use when you’re talking about changes that are the result of the mechanism of random genetic mutations combined with natural selection?

          There is no harm using a generally understood term like Darwinian-style evolution. Trust me, as long as you qualify what you’re saying to noting the limitations to what this mechanism can do, no one is going to be confused.

          There is simply no need to make the false claim that nothing Darwin ever said was true. He made a number of claims that were actually true and quite insightful. There is no harm in recognizing what the opposing side actually got right. It is actually to your advantage in a discussion to do so.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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        • I say there are “changes that are the result of the mechanism of random genetic mutations combined with natural selection.”

          If I decline eating a chowder(I am highly lactose intolerant)it does not mean that there is nothing in that soup that I could not eat. If I told people I ate chowder (but I was actually using a cashew based product) they would likely misunderstand and sooner or later I would be served food I shouldn’t eat.

          While it is true that Hitler and company did some good things for Germany, I would not say I believe in some Nazi-ism. I would certainly be misunderstood.

          Just so, if I say I believe in some Darwinian evolution, even if I make qualifiers, sooner or later someone is going to think I am supporting what I actually vigorously oppose. So I explain my position. I am a young life creationist who believes that about 6,000 years ago God created and built in variety to living things and after sin there were additionally mutations over time, some mindless, some engineered.

          I do not remember saying that nothing Darwin said was ever true. When was this? I said that the explanations the evoutionsts give for different things do not peacefully coexist, but I never remember saying about anyone, that nothing they said was true.

          Back to my original objection – Saying it this way does not mean one is incorrect or lacking in intelligence. When you disparage and disrespect those who believe similarly to you because they say it in a different way, you make your stance on the teachers at La Sierra very confusing.




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        • @-Shining:

          I’ve been doing this a long time (almost 20 years now) and I can tell you that, as far as I know, no one has misunderstood my position as a young life creationist who also recognizes limited forms of Darwinian evolution…

          This isn’t like accepting a little bit of Nazism. The Darwinian mechanism is given its name because Darwin really was the first to popularize it in published literature. Therefore, he deserves to have his name attached to the mechanism of RM/NS.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @ Sean
        Here, for example is a def. of a famous evo apologist. When you say you are buying into Darwinian evolution at all, this is what people think you are supporting. This is what I do not want to be confused with.

        Ernst Mayr (zoologist, Harvard University) defined evolution, which he called “Darwinism,” as the rejection of all supernatural phenomena and causations. The theory of evolution by natural selection explains the adaptedness and diversity of the world solely materialistically. It no longer requires God as creator or designer. (Mayr 2001, P.138 quoted in YouTube program: Origins-Persuaded by the Evidence with Dr. Jerry Bergman at 7:33 minutes)




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        • @-Shining:

          Again, the admission that Darwin got at least some things right is not hurtful to the cause of creationism. It is actually to our advantage to admit those things that Darwin got right while, at the same time, pointing out the limitations of the Darwinian mechanism.

          I’m with Michael Behe here in trying to point out the “edge” of what Darwinian-style evolution can do. Darwinian evolution is a real force of nature. The only problem, for the naturalists like Ernst Mayr, is, of course, that the Darwinian mechanism is a very weak and very limited force of nature. It cannot explain the existence of anything beyond very very low levels of functional biological complexity without the aid of outside information and intelligent creativity.

          That’s a huge problem for pure neo-Darwinists who fall into the ditch on the other side of the road and claim that there is no evidence of any kind for Design in living things or in nature at large.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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        • @Sean Pitman: I will say this one more time. You are saying that I said things I did not say. I specificially and repeatedly specified things I agree with in the context in which I agree with them. If people cant read what I wrote and see where that intersects with Darwinians, then my disclaimers will not be understood either. I quoted people who explain what the term Darwinian evolution is perceived to be. Does one have to say things just exactly as you do in order for you to understand and respect them?

          -Shining




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        • @-Shining:

          I’ve only been expaining why I say things the way I say them. I believe it is best to at least try to start off a discussion on as much common ground as is possible with those on the opposing side in a discussion… to openly admit those points, from the opposing side, that are actually valid.

          As I see it, there is simply no advantage in arguing that Darwinian evolution is completely wrong – that I believe in no form of Darwinism. It’s just not true for one thing and admitting those things that the Darwinian mechanism can produce only adds to the credibility of the creationist position – in my opinion.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DeteectingDesign.com




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  80. Hi Sean

    Thanks for your comments.

    No doubt as the poorest student of the Bible here I am the least qualified to comment on the accuracy or empiricism of Biblical prophecy. It would be improvident of me to do so. I do appreciate your point though.

    Respectfully
    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  81. ron:
    Bill, I pretty much agreewith your analysis.I guess I just disagreewith you about the character of God.I think that the preeminent characteristic of god is love and that his primary concern is comunity,I see the tolerance of the liberalsto begod like and the intolerance of the conservatives to be evil. So to me, Educate Truthrepresents an effort to destroy community and is wrong.I think it totally misrepresents the character of god.

    If God’s primary concern is community and tolerance, why will He destroy countless individuals and not allow them “community” with others, as is described at Christ’s Second Coming?




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  82. Holly said to Ron….

    “If God’s primary concern is community and tolerance, why will He destroy countless individuals and not allow them “community” with others, as is described at Christ’s Second Coming?”

    And I might add to Holly’s comment, “How is it we expect people in other denominations (communities) to actually abandon their community for the sake of loyalty to Christ?”

    We expect others to make “difficult” decisions for Jesus and accept the cross in their personal experience. But not SDA’s. And I think this applies especially to our leaders in their responsibility in governing and identifying the church.

    Hopefully, we all have some awareness of continual cross bearing as SDA Christians in our individual lives.

    The devil is offering the world a “crossless” religion and I think more than a few SDA’s are buying into it.

    We would all like to think it is possible, but it is not possible in this life. In which case, we must all consider our “responsible freedom” a privledge and duty that will surely cost us something to remain loyal to our Savior.

    “I”m OK, you’re OK” is no part of bible Christanity.

    Bill Sorensen




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  83. Re Sean’s Quote

    “For me, Biblical prophecies are the very Signature of God Himself”

    Hi Sean

    Thanks for your advice. I have read Revelations and Daniel shall do so again. With the greatest of respect nothing clear cut jumps out at me. It seems very symbolic and open to interpretation.

    Has anyone ever tried to apply the methods of science to prove the prophecies of the Bible or is that not suitable?

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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    • @Ken:

      Aside from the fact that science cannot definitively prove any theory, yes, a form of historical science can be used to test and evaluate Biblical prophecies. You have to know a lot about history though. You can’t simply read Daniel and Revelation and hope to understand what you’re reading unless you have detailed knowledge of the historical events being discussed.

      I recommend you start with the “70 weeks” prophecy starting with Daniel 9:24. This prophecy precisely predicts the First Coming of Jesus as well as his death to the day.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  84. Re ID Superpac

    Dear Adventist Friends

    I hereby pledge the inaugural one dollar to the establishment of an endowed Chair of Intelligent Design at any Adventist University.

    I also offer my services to sit as an unpaid, neutral trustee to help establish and maintain such chair. Furthermore I offer my professional skills to develop concensus amongst stakeholders, establish an ad hoc committee to spearhead the Chair, and flesh out policy.

    As the initial endower to the fund, which I hope will grow exponentially by small pledged amounts, I nominate Dr. Wesley Kime and Dr. Erv Taylor to sit with myself as the inaugural ad hoc committee members.

    Gentleman I do hope you will consider this request.

    From my review of the comments of both ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative ‘ bloggers on this forum I submit that ID is relevant and valuable to both camps. Moreover as an agnostic, not a Deist, I think that the investigation of design has merit and should not be excluded by a set in stone naturalistic bias. Perhaps it will become a new discipline. So what, who should be worried about that?

    I hope to hear from fellow pledgers so we can create a groundswell of support.




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  85. Re. Sean’s excellent suggestion to Ken that he study Daniel 9:24 and the “70 week” prophecy:

    May I insert, to preempt what our friend Ken, so well trained in agnostic devices, may already be poised to point out, or will surely confront, that indeed the “70 weeks” Prophecy of Daniel is so convincing that the aporetically bent just cannot believe it – it’s just too incredibly, invincibly accurate. Impossible. So it has been determined and declared long ago, and “most scholars agree,” that Daniel, known to have lived circa 600 BC, never wrote it at all. Some smirking proprietary revisionist inserted it in Maccabean times. Besides, there have been many squigglings of that prophecy, including the inevitable now classic, “it must be understood as a cultural allegorical message irrelevant to modernity.” The Wikis are awash with this kind of thing. But might it be that the explainings-away of Daniel are more contrived than his prophesies? Give your maieutics another run, friend Ken; put Daniel in the context of the cosmos and creation, cosmic dust and, yes, our Krebs Cycle, not just oh-it-can’t-be hermeneutics or “suitable” science.




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  86. This is a great example of how supposedly smart scientists deceive themselves! Ask any evolutionist why something is found in nature, and they will come up with a “Darwinian” response that they claim will “explain” the finding. [edit]




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